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Amazon is Brazil’s big challenge, vice-president says


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Brazil’s vice-President Hamilton Mourão referred to the development of the Amazon Forest as one of the biggest challenges lying ahead of the country. He participated in an online seminar Thursday (27) where he made comments on the region’s economic potential—which should be stimulated and receive foreign investment—also mentioning the fires and deforestation.

Mourão described the way fires are being portrayed as “surreal”. By Wednesday (26), he pointed out, there were 24 thousand heat spots in the Amazon—but, he went on to say, considering the area of the forest, which comprises approximately 60 percent of the national territory, this means a heat spot in every 200 km².

“The way this is brought to people is surreal. It’s as if the whole forest were burning,” he said while taking part in the event organized by trade associations. A mere five percent of the Amazon’s vegetation coverage has been deforested, he added. “Ninety-five percent remains intact.”

In his view, in order to develop the region, investment must be brought in. “It’s time for those people who talk a lot about the Amazon to join the game and place the resources in the hands of our companies or the companies coming to settle in the Amazon to promote and develop bioeconomy.”

The vice-president said it is the state’s duty to improve the business environment of the Amazon, with legal security attracting private investment.

Integration

The development of the Amazon requires greater integration between the region and the world, Mourão argued, which should be bolstered, as well as challenges in three areas.

In the so-called Humanization Arch (which includes northeast Acre, south Amazonas, north Rondônia, north Mato Grosso, as well as south, southeast, and east Pará), productivity must be stimulated in agribusiness, which is low, with possible land regulation, with clear boundaries to curb the interferences into protected areas within the forest. He noted that half of the Amazon biome is protected land—either as an indigenous territory or a conservation unit.

In Central Amazon, which stretches from the Xingu to the Madeira river, Mourão said there may be development potential for controlled forest management, alongside employment and income generation.

In the Western Amazon area, which goes from the Madeira river all the way to the borders shared with other countries, the area remains untouched, and bioeconomy presents itself as a great propelling force.

Pressure

The vice-president named three groups pressuring the country on the Amazon issue. One is the opposition to President Bolsonaro’s administration, the second are European producers which, Mourão argues, can no longer compete with Brazil.

The third groups includes environmental activists, who “firmly believe that the Amazon is being destroyed and this will make an impact on global climate.”

“We must learn how to work and oppose these groups with solid arguments, showing we will not tolerate any non-compliance, making clear what’s true and establishing economic and ecological zoning so that each area has, within its sustainability [possibilities], its economic activity previously defined and its vocation to generate employment and income, and develop.”

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