Every morning at 6:30, Joaquim dos Santos walks across his farm in Parelheiros, a rural neighborhood that feels out of place deep in the southern part of this crowded metropolis.
His best sellers are root vegetables. Ginger, yams, purple sweet potatoes, carrots and a yellow root known as mandioquinha dot his 57 acres.
Dos Santos, 69, is teaching his grandson how to work the land — just like his father taught him.
But unlike his father, Dos Santos no longer uses pesticides.
“Growing organics is the future,” Dos Santos said. “It has so much potential.”
But many Brazilian lawmakers disagree and have resuscitated pro-pesticide legislation that had languished well over a decade.
The main proposal was dubbed the “poison package” by environmentalists when it was introduced in 2002. It would severely reduce the role of health and environment authorities in authorizing new pesticides, leaving the job to the Agriculture Ministry.