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Revista Brasileira de Saúde Ocupacional

versión impresa ISSN 0303-7657


STOTZ, Eduardo Navarro. Limits of conventional agriculture and reasons for its persistence: a case study in Sumidouro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rev. bras. saúde ocup. [online]. 2012, vol.37, n.125, pp.114-126. ISSN 0303-7657.

The predominance of conventional agriculture, characterized mainly by the indiscriminate use of pesticides, has led to researches on health and environment perception associated with these practices. An observational and participatory research was conducted in Sumidouro, Rio de Janeiro State, between 2006 and 2008, which aimed to understand the family farmer's perception on the limits of conventional agriculture and the reasons for its persistence. Conventional agriculture was positively evaluated by the interviewed in terms of economic and social gains, because socially-necessary labor time is reduced when pesticides were used. It was also perceived as determinative of their lives, despite the persistence of elements of traditional agriculture in their memory and their perception of the dependency on agricultural inputs and their impacts. These elements suggest that a broad and long term public policy needs to be established in order to introduce profound changes in perception and in current agricultural system, in the same way that the conventional one was imposed to the community by subsidized credit programs and technical assistance service. This policy should consider, among others issues, the dependence of the local political power on large agricultural producers and traders, including pesticide dealers, and the need for integration of agricultural research and extension that includes active participation of farmers.

Palabras clave : pesticides; farmers' health; social memory; agricultural system; political power.

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