IDS Policy Briefings 189 and 190

Martyrdom of the Cerrado: An Agri-Food Territory in Need of Justice

Published on 24 March 2022

The Cerrado is a natural biome occupying 25 per cent of Brazil’s surface. Compared to the Amazon, it is relatively unknown to international audiences, yet it is currently the world’s largest agricultural frontier.

Intensive soybean and beef production are driving deforestation, water depletion, habitat loss, and land grabbing. Emphasising the scale of land-based inequality and conflicts, this briefing exposes the Cerrado as a territory of martyrdom, contrasting the ‘miracle’ portrayed by the dominant agri-food regime. Resistance struggles within the region are outlined and recommendations looking to challenge the success narrative of agribusiness and to move towards territorial justice are presented.

This Policy Briefing is available in English and Brazilian Portuguese. An accessible version of the English briefing is also available in HTML format.

Cite this publication

Sauer, S. and Cabral, L. (2022) 'Martyrdom of the Cerrado: An Agri-Food Territory in Need of Justice', IDS Policy Briefing 189, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/IDS.2022.010


Sérgio Sauer

Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Brasília

Lídia Cabral

Rural Futures Cluster Lead

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published by
Institute of Development Studies


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