Matto Grosso: In the heartland of the agri-barons
In no country in the world are more pesticides sprayed than in Brazil. And no company makes more money selling these products there than the Swiss-based agrichemical giant Syngenta. How does the widespread use of highly hazardous pesticides impact the people living next to the never-ending fields of soy, corn and cotton? In the state of Mato Grosso, we investigated a business that causes terrible harm to human health and the environment.
The Yavatmal scandal
From July to October 2017, some 800 agricultural workers were poisoned whilst spraying pesticides on cotton fields in the district of Yavatmal. Over 20 of them died. Public Eye revealed that a key product implicated in the affair was Polo. Syngenta exports this insecticide from Switzerland, where it has been banned due to its harmful effects on health and the environment.
Paraquat is a highly toxic pesticide which repeatedly causes damage to health and deaths among workers and farmers, as our report from a small village in the Philippines shows.