What They Say
In 2018 GGREF interviewed a small group of local farmers; this is what they had to say...
"The Jequitinhonha Valley is considered the Valley of Misery" - watch the video.
"My land was explored for granite, but I had never received payment, because stones could not be carried out for processing. At present, we got no income from anything. The land is perforated with pits, and trees knocked down..."
"The dirt that came down from the quarries clogged my yard and a spring water. Before the granite exploration, I used a hoe to pluck a piece of manioc from the yard; Now I began to use a more powerful tool [such the hardness of the soil]. When it rains, the debris of the mining come down and accumulate in the lowest place, it means in the bed of an intermittent river."
"At present, the land is not worth anything anymore, because the stones debris are carried by the wind to the trees, the plants, the whole place; such a tiny layer of dust on everything ... We used to have a permanent spring, which was known for more than a hundred years ago. After the dynamite stone shots, the water disappeared, it leaked to another place, I guess ..."
"The most urgent thing would be to have a rain water reservoir like the one GGREF has just done, because where there is a reservoir, even without rain, the Government is obliged by law to fill it with water. It's been more than three years since the government promised a cistern or reservoir, and sent the pipes, but there was nothing done..."
"Before, I use to plant corn, manioc, beans, and sold at the farmers market. Now I still plant but lose everything."
“The Government had built three dams in this area; they are now filled with dirt, and the water has disappeared. When the granite was removed from the hilltop, the land, without the shield of stones, descended to the bed of the streams. Before, I worked in the fields planting corn, beans, manioc, tobacco, coffee, bananas, sugar cane, etc. We planted, harvested, sold, and this was adequate to make a living for our family."
"Today, a group of eight people lives only with the retirement of their elderly grandmother, which is a Brazilian minimum wage, equivalent to U $ 234.00 per month. What will happen when she dies?"
"When it became impossible to plant, my family was forced to abandon the land and to move to the outskirts of the city, in search for daily jobs, when possible. Not only us, but more people are migrating, looking for improvement, are they not? When the granite exploration started, we were not aware of its consequences. The disaster was noted later. Everywhere there were mining activities, the dams are grounded. The Jequitinhonha Valley has always been considered the valley of hunger and misery; for our family that is what exists now."
GGREF, Joint Effort Meal (Feijoada Mutirão) August 2018, CAM 1, videos DSC 9682, 9683 & 9694.