Government of the State Mato Grosso and farmers step up actions towards raising awareness and preventing forest fires

Mato Grosso is currently undergoing the dry season, when the incidence of slash-and-burn and wildfires increases and puts both the public and private sectors on alert.

To tackle these challenges, the State Government has launched an investment package that includes actions for combating wildfires and illegal logging. The sum earmarked to such actions amount to BRL 60 million, BRL 32 millions of which will be allocated to field operations, which is monitored by a Strategic Committee.

Photo: Maike Toscano/File Government of the State of Mato Grosso/2020

“We will take strong and incisive actions against environmental crimes and show those who insist on performing illegal acts that, unfortunately, they will face serious consequences,” said Mauro Mendes, the state governor, during the launch of the State Plan to Combat Forest Fires.

Furthermore, the Decree that bans the use of fire in rural areas is in effect between July 1st and October 30th (and may be extended). In practice, this means that the State Department of Environment does not grant authorization for the use of fire, thereby making such activity an environmental crime.

Aware of the environmental, economic, and social damage caused by fires, entities from the productive sector have joined in campaigns to draw attention to this issue.

“During this dry period, rainfall is greatly reduced, and this increases the probability of wildfires occurring, and we need to raise citizens’ awareness about fire prevention and fighting fires to avoid damages and tragedies such as the ones we have already witnessed,” said Oswaldo Pereira Júnior, president-director of Acrimat (Mato Grosso Breeders’ Association). Acrimat is a partner of IDH for the implementation of the Sustainable Production of Calves Program in the Araguaia and Pantanal regions, besides being a signatory of the PCI Regional Compact of Barra do Garças.

CAT Sorriso is another example of an entity committed to prevention. During the months of April and May, the CAT held ten meetings and trained 189 workers from 25 soybean farms in the Sorriso region. The content covered several regulatory norms, among them the NR 20, which addresses the management of occupational safety and health in the handling of flammable materials.

Bringing information on environmental education and on the agricultural and livestock industry to students in public and private schools is also among the actions developed by the CAT. In 2021, CAT distributed 10,000 copies of an Educational Booklet , which, in a playful way, provides information on the awareness and prevention of forest fires and slash-and-burn.

This year, the action was expanded with the launch of the project O Agro na Escola, Um Sorriso para o Agro (in English, Agribusiness at School, a Smile [the town’s name in English] to Agribusiness ), the main objective of which is to raise awareness in the school community and the population in general on how to care for the environment, the use of sustainable practices, and how agricultural production happens, in practice, in Mato Grosso.

“This project is very important because it leads students to understand and replicate it at home, for their families, by explaining what agribusiness is, how it works, how the production chains work, what is right and what is wrong when it comes to it. It is an action that really shows what agribusiness is”, explained Darci Getúlio Ferrarin Junior, president of CAT Sorriso.

CAT is a signatory of the PCI Regional Compact of Sorriso and a partner of IDH in the Cultivating Sustainable Life Project.