“Promoting well being” project supports 40th anniversary of sustainable indigenous cattle raising program in Roraima

The program, being supportive of traditional livelihoods and sources of income, recognizes the need of sustainable cattle farming. Promoting Wellbeing for Indigenous People in Roraima project” recognizes the need for some cattle production and helps communities understand how to best raise cattle in a way that has minimal impact on the environment, encourages reasonable land use, while ensuring deforestation rates are not increasing. Roraima has land that is largely grass terrain, and controlled use of this lands helps protect forested ecosystems. 

In February, representatives from nine communities within the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land (TIRSS) metat Maturuca to celebrate 40 years of the Cattle for Indigenous People project. The initiative has resulted from cooperation between indigenous communities of Roraima (who already had some cattle raising experience) and Consolata Church missionaries.

The gathering brought together important project leaders, such as Chief Jacir de Souza (known as tuxaua in their local language), responsible for transporting the first 52 heads of cattle (50 cows and two bulls) delivered by the project to the Maturuca community; and Father Giorgio Dal Ben, seen as the key coordinator of the cattle raising project. Hundreds of indigenous people from all over the region also attended the event. In addition to remembering their history, they discussed the next steps in the cattle raising initiative, which is now supported by the “Promoting Wellbeing for Indigenous People in Roraima project, an initiative that promotes the well-being of indigenous peoples.

Led by the International Education Institute of Brazil (IEB), Nature and Culture International (NCI), and the Roraima Indigenous Council (CIR) with support from USAID, “Bem Viveraims to improve the territorial governance and environmental management of indigenous lands in Roraima and promote income generation through the sustainable development of the livestock productive chain, while conserving their territory.

“With this event, we are launching talks on sustainable cattle farming best practices, starting by reaffirming indigenous communities’ commitment to promoting their own well being,” explained Mr. Reinaldo Lourival, Director of Nature and Culture International (NCI), who, together with anthropologist Lêda Martins, coordinates this component of the project in close collaboration with the CIR.

Currently, that region alone is home to about 16,000 heads of cattle under the Cattle for indigenous people project. They feed on native pastures on the mountains and local savannas (known as lavrados). As a result, livestock has become the main economic activity for approximately 26,000 indigenous people of the Macuxi, Wapichana, Ingarikó, Taurepang and Patamona ethnic groups in the region.

Information provided by the Roraima Indigenous Council. Read more about it at: