Researching the development of rural communities in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador, Brazil

In January 2017, Francesca Fois from the GLOBAL-RURAL team travelled to Brazil to investigate how life in rural Brazil has been changed by connections with the global economy and global society and how global issues such as food security and water supply are addressed at the national, regional and local levels. GLOBAL-RURAL aims to explore several case studies across the different Brazilian biomes such as the Atlantic forest, the Caatinga (the semi-arid region), the Amazon forest and the Pampa.

The research started in the Atlantic Forest of Bahia studying how processes of industrialisation and urbanisation have affected the rural areas and, especially, the traditional communities of the Metropolitan Region of Salvador. The research has been undertaken in collaboration with Terra Mirim communitarian foundation located in the Itamboatá valley and the field assistants Daniela Sampaio (Dahvi) and Maria Isabel Nunes (Minah). Since its foundation, Terra Mirim has played a crucial role for promoting a sustainable development and for the recognition of environmental and social rights in the valley.

The research initially focused on studying the Itamboatá valley located in the municipality of Simões Filho but the scale has extended on the Metropolitan Region of Salvador as it is essential to explore the role of Salvador, the Industrial Centres of Aratú and Petrol Chemical Centre of Camaçari to understand the rural dynamics of the valley

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In this context, the research has 3 main research questions:

  1. How has the development of rural areas of the Metropolitan Region of Salvador been affected by the global economy?
  2. How do the rural traditional communities deal with issues of food security and how do the municipalities and government support such programs?
  3. How are issues of water supply and sanitation addressed in these rural areas?

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The research is using semi-structured interviews and in January the team has interviewed more than 40 people from the Metropolitan Region of Salvador such as local governors from Simões Filho and Camaçari; several institutions from the State of Bahia; residents and leaders from traditional rural communities of Terra Mirim, Dandá, Oitero, Palmares, Mapele, Guerrero, Goes Calmon; and collaborators from different organisations of the civil society and universities.

It is early to communicate the results of the research as a qualitative analysis is needed; however, the first impressions are that the rural areas of the valley have so far not been targeted with specifically development programs from the municipality of Simões Filho. The focus has rather been given to support the expansion of the industrial centres, the entrance of global capital and the advancement of the urban areas and the rural communities’ necessities are not addressed. These are some general initial findings; however, more data will be collected in March 2017 and a more detailed analysis is needed to further present the rural dynamics of the Metropolitan Region of Salvador.

For the Portuguese version see: http://terramirim.org.br/comunidades-tradicionais-rurais

 

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