1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Brazil: Bolsonaro seeks to increase extraction in Amazon

March 2, 2022

The Brazilian president wants to pave the way for further exploitation of protected lands. He is not known for protecting the environment or Indigenous rights.

The boundary between the Xingu National Park and farmed land which surrounds the reserve is seen at the Xingu Indigenous Park in Brazil
Bolsonaro has used the war in Ukraine to push for deregulation of indigenous land rights in BrazilImage: Ueslei Marcelino/REUTERS

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro went to Twitter on Wednesday to justify the extraction of resources from Indigenous land in the Amazon by pointing to scarcities caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"With the war between Russia and Ukraine, we now run the risk of running out of potassium or of its price increasing," Boslonaro said.

He used this to back a draft law from 2020 that would allow the government to permit the "extraction of minerals, water and organic resources from Indigenous land."

Official data shows that deforestation in the Amazon has accelerated during Bolsonaro's term in office, reaching its highest point in 15 years in 2021.

Arts.21 - The Cultural Magazine

Brazil's dependence on Russian fertilizer

"Our food security and agrobusiness require measures that allow us to not depend on external sources for something we have in abundance," Bolsonaro tweeted.

Data from the Logcomex platform show that Russia was the main provider of potassium chloride — a major fertilizer — to Brazil in 2021.

Russia sent $1.4 billion-worth (around €1.25 billion) of the compound, equivalent to 34% of Brazil's potassium chloride imports that year.

Bolsonaro also sparked outrage in his home country after visiting Moscow two weeks ago amid tensions over Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

The two countries' trade relations had been on the agenda for the meeting.

Environmental deregulation

The Brazilian president wrote that he had previously identified "three problems" regarding his country's dependence on foreign sources of fertilizer: environmental legislation, Indigenous people and rights of exploration in the Rio Madeira basin.

The legislation that Bolsonaro is once again supporting was shot down by the public prosecutor's office in 2021 for being unconstitutional. It aims to pave the way to regulate mining in Indigenous reserves without approval from Congress.

The right-wing lawmaker came to power with a campaign promoting the economic exploitation of the Amazon rainforest and to put an end to new Indigenous reserves.

Since taking office he has deregulated control measures and the financing of illegal mining in the Amazon.

ab/msh (dpa, EFE)