Soybean Ban From Deforested Areas Enacted in Brazil
photo by Leonardo F. Freitas
With all the attention Brazilian biofuels have received recently due to rising food prices, the casual observer could be forgiven for forgetting another unintended consequence of the boom in Brazilian soybean production: Amazonian deforestation. In an effort to halt this, at least temporarily, the government of Brazil in conjunction with the grain industry has enacted an extension of ban on soybeans, originally enacted in 2006 and set to expire at the end of July, from areas which have been deforested.The ban, which will also apply to timber products and beef, will be in place until July 2009 and has the support of grain heavyweights Cargill, Bunge Ltd, ADM Co, and Louis Dreyfus.
Deforestation in Amazonia has increased recently, after being in decline for the previous three years, to a rate of 434 square miles per month. Though not the only cause of this increase, it does coincide with a revival of the Brazilian soy industry, which is in a period of growth following a slump from 2004 to 2006 due to rapidly rising world grain prices.
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