Knowledge for better food systems

Soy and environmental compliance in Brazil

This brief from Trase (a partnership between the Stockholm Environment Institute and Global Canopy) examines soy grown on unregistered farms in Brazil. Legally, farms in Brazil should be registered with the Rural Environmental Registry as the first step of complying with the Forest Code, which stipulates how much native vegetation should be left intact on private properties.

The report finds that two-thirds of the soy grown on unregistered Brazilian farms is exported, with the main importers being China and the European Union, as shown in the figure below - suggesting that buyers of soy do not always check that farms are properly registered.

Image: Figure 3, Vasconcelos et al. Main destinations of the soy grown on unregistered farms.

The brief calls for soy traders, industry associations, food manufacturers and retailers to incorporate a requirement for registration of soy farms into their sourcing standards.

Read the full brief, Soy and environmental compliance in Brazil: an undervalued risk for global markets, here (PDF link). See also the Foodsource resource What interventions could potentially shift our eating patterns in sustainable directions? and the report Moving to deforestation free animal feed: 2018 Retail Soy Initiative.

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Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean occupies the central and southern portion of the Americas. The region is home to the world’s largest river (the Amazon River), the largest rainforest (the Amazon Rainforest), and the longest mountain range (the Andes). Export-oriented agriculture constitutes an important part of the economy, especially in Brazil and Argentina. This large continent has a range of climates spanning the ice of Patagonia, the tropical forests of much of the continent, and more temperate regions in, for example, Mexico and Chile. Due to the greatly differing geography and economic development in the continent, all types of agriculture can be found in Latin America. Subsistence farming and cash cropping with coffee, cocoa and so on are common in many nations including most of central America, whereas large-scale beef production in the cerrado of Brazil provides an example of hyper-large farms run by large businesses.

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