The Mato Grosso Project/Brazil

Pater Hans Henning and drug addicts

Our contacts with Pater Hans Henning in Brazil go back to the year 1975. In Mato Grosso we have set as our aim the improvement of harvests by modernizing farming methods.

The town of Juscimeira has a hinterland of approximately 5,000 square kilometers where more than 30,000 settlers live. These settlers are attempting to carve out a modest farming existence on newly cleared land to either side of the great North-South highway. The land is not easy to cultivate. The earth dries out quickly; working the land becomes more and more difficult, and harvests dwindle. The yield covers only the bare necessities. Reduced to a subsistence level, settlers were leaving the area in increasing numbers for the large cities on the East coast of Brazil.

There, the majority of them gravitate to the favelas (slums) on the outskirts of these cities. In many cases they start drug careers. The Fathers Henning from Fulda have taken it upon themselves, as one of their tasks, to try to prevent this. Therefore they support also drug addicts on their way back into society.

Project Administrator: Pater Hans Henning
Long-term Project Administrator
Father Hans Henning (deceased 2010)

The Rexroth Foundation helped them to procure modern farming machinery, to build drying barns and stores for rice and soya, as well as to buy seed and dairy cattle.

Encouraged by the Rexroth Foundation, a cooperative was formed which now has a membership of more than 1,500 settlers. The results: Harvests are improving, and over 10,000 people have found work and a living in this way.

The year 1980 saw the solution to the problem of enabling the younger generation to acquire their own farming land. Negotiations with the government resulted in the cooperative gaining free title to approximately 23,000 hectares of land in the Ranchao area where 150 families were settled in three villages. Since then, roads, houses and schools have been built and the population has risen to around 1,000.

Events have proved that our money is well invested. After several good harvests the settlers were able to repay the greater part of their loans to the cooperative, and are now largely independent.

A total of EUR 1.1 Mio. has been donated for this project.