There are extreme social and economic disparities in Brazil. Some 60% of the rural population live below the poverty line. Unfair land distribution is one of the reasons for this. Roughly 4.8 million Brazilian families are landless, while some 4 000 large landowners possess over 85 million hectares of land. Families who have lived for generations on their land, though most of them without land titles, are systematically expelled to make way for large soya, sugar cane and eucalyptus plantations and for extensive cattle farming. Brazil's biodiversity is under severe threat and social problems have become exacerbated. HEKS/EPER helps improve the food security and incomes of the rural population and supports the building of a strong civil society.
Through 60 submissions to the authorities on behalf of 30’000 people in 2019, HEKS/EPER championed their land rights, access to resources, as well as the right to a say in decision-making. Twenty-three per cent of the submissions were already accepted in 2019.
Sustainable agriculture and greater biodiversity safeguard livelihoods over the long term. HEKS/EPER projects therefore ensured that 98 per cent of the land was managed in an environment-friendly manner. In the wake of massive fires in the rain forest, HEKS/EPER is assisting 3900 people by providing seeds, seedlings, foodstuffs and medical supplies.