A fantasy was created, a legend, where, in Brazil, the guy who degrades the environment is the rural producer. It’s exactly the opposite. This rural producer is the biggest conservative of the environment,” says Nabhan, president of the UDR (Rural Democratic Union) and advisor to Bolsonaro on the subject.
Nabhan relies on the Forest Code to say that there is room to legally deforest the Amazon. According to the law, the landowner must maintain 80% of the forest preserved in the Legal Amazon – an area that encompasses nine states with the same biome and that corresponds to 59% of Brazilian territory.
Like the president, Nabhan defends Brazil’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and speaks at the end of the “fine industry” by IBAMA inspectors. For him, there is “a lot of fantasy, a lot of legend” about global warming.
Nabhan, owner of properties in Mato Grosso (soy, corn and cotton) and Mato Grosso do Sul (eucalyptus and cattle), is against zero deforestation, but defends the current model of the Forest Code.
The idea of Nabhan and Bolsonaro’s campaign is to unite agriculture, environment and agrarian reform in the same folder. But on this last item, according to him, there is no room for dialogue with the MST (Movement of Landless Rural Workers). “If Bolsonaro sits with them, it will be the greatest disappointment of those who elected him,” he says.
In addition to the Nabhan wing, which brings together independent producers from all over the country, the Parliamentary Front for Agriculture and the CNA (Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil) also took part in the dispute to appoint the minister of this superpasta in the eventual Bolsonaro government.
What would this ministry that would unite Agriculture, Agrarian Development and Environment be like in the eventual Bolsonaro government? What is the idea?
The idea is to reduce the number of ministries. The merger will not be just that. Historically, the land and agrarian issue has always been linked to the Agriculture portfolio. And why also [unite with] the Ministry of the Environment? Because the great drama that Brazil is going through in the environmental issue is precisely in rural areas.
The environmental issue is very much linked to the countryside, such as the Legal Amazon and agribusiness. In these last governments, of FHC and those of the PT, an ideological mixture has begun to emerge over this environmental issue. And on the issue of the economy too, because there are thousands of NGOs here in Brazil with vested interests.
A fantasy was created, a legend, where, in Brazil, the guy who degrades the environment is the rural producer. It is exactly the opposite. This rural producer is the biggest conservative of the environment.
But aren’t agriculture and the environment today opposing forces? One is pushing for more and more progress with plantations and pastures, while another is fighting precisely to avoid this. How to harmonize these two sides in the same folder?
By complying with the law, simply by complying with the law.
But is the law not being obeyed today?
Of course not. If it depended on environmentalists, Brazil wouldn’t have a soybean tree. If it depended on these NGOs, it wouldn’t have a soy foot. They want to transform our Amazon into another country. This is absurd.
Why does Bolsonaro go against the Paris Agreement and the goal of zero deforestation?
I don’t speak on behalf of Bolsonaro because I have no power of attorney from Bolsonaro. But, due to the conversations I have had with him about this, the Paris Agreement cannot pass over Brazilian legislation. It cannot. We have a Forest Code that has been debated for ten years in society and in Congress. It is sovereign and in force. The Paris Agreement cannot intervene in the sovereignty of a country. What is the Paris Agreement and its members giving in return for Brazil to adopt zero deforestation? The new agricultural frontiers were deforested within the law, and what is not within the law we have legislation to punish. They don’t do their obligation and they want Brazil to do it for free.
Do you think there is more deforestation in the Amazon?
But it is obvious; the subject has a property, bought and paid. The law says that in the forest area I have the right to open 20% and leave 80% of the reserve and, in the cerrado area, to open 65% and leave 35% of the legal reserve. It’s in the law. The current law.
The issue of zero deforestation also refers to global warming…
This is already another discussion, technical, which created a lot of fantasy, a lot of legend above, in this ideological process of this left that tried to dominate the world and is going down the drain.
You don’t believe in the effects of global warming?
Of course you do. But not the way they are leading. Why doesn’t anyone comment on the global warming that China causes? Why does everyone roll their tails to China and nobody says anything? Why do you now come to say that global warming is Brazil’s fault? Or the producer who opened his land property within the law and respecting the law? This is a legend, it does not exist. Now they want to blame Brazil. This issue of global warming is very debatable.
Bolsonaro talks about removing Brazil from the Paris Agreement and, at the same time, ending what he calls Ibama’s ‘fine industry’. Aren’t these clear signs to start the chainsaws?
One proposal that Bolsonaro told me is this: if we have a Forest Code, I can’t buy a chainsaw and go there and deforest what the law allows me?
The issue is illegal deforestation. What would this fine industry be?
It is precisely the exaggerations and injustices committed. The subject deforested a piece of his land, within the law, there goes an inspector from Ibama, who says that he deforested wrongly and with a fine. Then it takes ten years in a judicial fight for him to be considered innocent. I’ve never seen Bolsonaro anywhere claim that he’s going to give a certificate of exemption from a fine. Or that someone is immune to the fine. Biased and fabricated fines must end.
There was a recent example in which Bolsonaro himself pursued IBAMA inspectors after being fined for illegal fishing. Isn’t that a threatening message to IBAMA inspectors? Can’t they feel intimidated?