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True Amazonas: New Times and Approaches
Many interesting findings inside the Agro show in Manaus
Antonio Carlos Rix (carlosrix)     Print Article 
Published 2007-11-04 07:39 (KST)   
This article has been only lightly edited.  <Editor's Note>
The 34th Agro Expo; sign reads: There's business, there's a party. This is the Green Free Trade Zone.
©2007 Antonio Carlos Rix
I like to write about Manaus -- the links below will show you how much.

Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas, in Brazil's generous cut of the giant South American rain forest. Manaus is a big metropolis in the middle of the rain forest. Last week there was a large Agro show in Manaus. Visiting it, I was lucky to find a true Amazon woman.

Articles About Manaus and the Amazon

Have you ever heard of the legend of the Amazon women and the origin of the name of that mighty river, this region and the state itself?

In Greece, much before Christ, there were tales of women tribes that rode horses, handled the bow and arrow with great skill and lived alone, never admitting the presence of men in their land. They named themselves Amazons. The Spaniard Francisco de Orellana, in 1540, made an exploratory journey into South America and traveled on a great river going through the most mysterious forests. On the banks he saw groups of Indians with long hair, which made him think he had found the kingdom of the Amazon women. And so that name passed to the river, the forest and the place.

Back at the Agro show, it was OK; but if it hadn't been for this finding, I would not have much to report on. You might be thinking, "What is an Agro show for in the Amazon?" Well, there are lots of cattle there, and agriculture. Taken all together, the largest herd of cattle in the world is in Brazil -- more than 195,000,000. In general we think of cattle ranching and farming as the opposite of preservation, but we would do well to look our assumption over.

The Amazonas state government wants to avoid destructive farming. To do so, farmers need knowledge. This kind of show is a great way to promote exchange and interaction between farmers, and between farmers and government agencies, as well between farmers and business. Many different programs were shown to all visitors. It was indeed a great opportunity for those producers to learn a great deal on how preservation pays better then devastation. In this aspect, the government is in the right pass, for sure.

Gigliola Pontes is a veterinarian who works with water buffalos. Pontes is a very talented and strong Amazonas woman -- she loves to take care of large animals. She assists seven farmers as well as their employees with better practices and development of the business and the species. She loves her work. I asked her what the ring on her left hand meant and she told me, "I have got married to my work, I love it! This is my graduation ring."

Gigliola and her "kids"; on the left, Darbuj Poi Da Piguia, an 8-year-old female matrix -- the object of her pride.
©2007 Antonio Carlos Rix
One of the best programs shown at the event was that on forest stocks. As the name suggests preservation will mean revenues to traditional farmers and small property owners who practice sustainable agriculture. A forest that is alive is worth a lot more money than one that has been devastated. Pontes gave me a good example of how it works:

A farm employee who works for Gigliola said she's tough but nice to work with.
©2007 Antonio Carlos Rix
"The water buffalo is the best animal to raise in this region. He is strong, likes water and is able to synthesize even the poorest types of pastures. So you do not need to cut trees to create huge pasture areas for the buffalo. Therefore, you may preserve it and benefit from the forest stocks program while still raising cattle -- two business in one! The buffalo is naturally ready for the Amazon environment, more than any other cattle type," she explained.

Maria Raquel Amaral works at a government agency that promotes all sustainable agro business. She is standing beside rubber extracted from the forest without harming it.
©2007 Antonio Carlos Rix
The women of the Amazon region are of all kinds: city women, country women, etc. They are most likely to be hard working. Among the Indians, for example, it is well known that they work much harder than the men. I spoke to people from the Manaus Free Trade Zone industrial area, where there are many large companies, and more than once they said this kind of thing about women workers.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Gigliola as much as I did and getting to know a bit more about Brazil and the Amazon.

Buffalo -- the best kind in the Amazon Region.
©2007 Antonio Carlos Rix
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Antonio Carlos Rix

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