Amazon traders promise to boycott soya from "cheating farmers"

Posted by jossc — 17 April 2009 at 11:48am - Comments

Huge areas in the Amazon rainforest are illegally logged to clear land for soya plantations
Huge areas in the Amazon rainforest are illegally logged to clear land for soya plantations © Greenpeace/Beltra

Some good news just in from Brazil, where soya traders have reinforced their commitment to boycott soya grown in newly deforested areas of the Amazon.

Clearing-cutting to make space for new soya plantations has been one of the main causes of rainforest destruction in recent years, which is why we campaigned successfully for a moratorium (temporary ban) three years ago.

At that time the GTS coalition, comprising large trading companies such as Cargill, ADM and Bunge plus NGOs including Greenpeace and WWF, was set up to check whether farmers were breaching the moratorium. The latest monitoring results, released at a press conference in the nation's capital Brazilia on Tuesday, show that the moratorium is working successfully. Only 12 out of a total of 630 recently deforested areas observed were being used to grow soya.

The soya traders, whose trade associations ABIOVE and ANEC make grants available to help farmers grow soya, made a commitment at the conference that, for the next growing season at least, they will cut access to these funds for any growers who've contravened the ban.

Greenpeace's Amazon Campaign coordinator Paulo Adario congratulated them on the move; "Today's statements clearly tell those farmers who tried to cheat the moratorium that they will pay through loss of earnings and market access; the challenge for traders now is to find and isolate these farmers from their supply chain."

Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc, who also attended the conference, said that he recognised "all the positive efforts government, industry and civil society have made to ensure protection of our forest. I credit reductions in Amazon deforestation to agreements such as the soya moratorium." He used the opportunity to promise a further US$2.29 million to speed up the process of registering all rural land in the Amazon - which will make identifying illegal soya farms much easier.

But while developments of this kind will help to restrict the speed at which Amazon deforestation is happening, they are still not enough to bring the process to a halt. Other key drivers of deforestation - such as cattle ranching - also urgently need to be brought under control. To help make this happen we need industrialised nations like the UK to provide more funds to stop Amazon deforestation. 

This support is essential if Brazil is to effectively tackle climate change. Tropical deforestation is responsible for nearly 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the continued destruction of the Amazon makes Brazil the world's fourth largest climate polluter.

About Joss

Bass player and backing vox in the four piece beat combo that is the UK Greenpeace Web Experience. In my 6 years here I've worked on almost every campaign and been fascinated by them all to varying degrees. Just now I'm working on Peace and Oceans - which means getting rid of our Trident nuclear weapons system and creating large marine reserves so that marine life can get some protection from overfishing.

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