The friendship pact signed between Reggio Emilia and Rio Branco, capital city of the State of Acre, dates back to 1994.
In December 2013, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the death of Chico Mendes (the trade unionist of Xapurì assassinated by landowners, who became a symbol of the struggle for the defence of Indios and the forest workers’ rights against the Amazonian deforestation), some important institutions, associations and trade unions of Reggio Emilia – protagonists of cooperation and solidarity activities in the Amazonia for a long time – met in Reggio Emilia with Don Luigi Ceppi. Don Ceppi, known as “o padre da floresta”, is an active missionary from Lombardy for many years in the Amazonia for the protection of the rights of the weakest and the forest populations, first in the diocese of Rio Branco and now in that of Porto Velho.
From the relationship with Don Ceppi, it has developed over the years an intense exchange and solidarity activities between Reggio Emilia and the Amazon state of Acre, through cooperation projects in agriculture, education and dairy. In the city of Rio Branco and in the state of Acre are, in fact, very flourishing the rubber, timber and medicinal plants trades: the city was established in 1882 when the first workers’ families arrived in the area to extract the rubber from the trees of the forest.
Among the examples of solidarity and cooperation, the last one is the donation of a tractor to the Acre farmers from the Landini of Fabbrico (Reggio Emilia) workers and the direct support to the dairy cooperatives of Brasileia and Epitaciolandia.