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EU soy imports affected by Amazon soy moratorium qualms

I cannot stop thinking how the desire to abandon the moratorium may be related to recent changes in the clientele for Brazilian soybeans.

Amazon-rainforest
Frazao | Bigstock.com

A note from a fellow consultant made me think again how politics and consumer/trade interests affect the way we feed animals.

After my blog last November on global soybean statistics and the challenges versus opportunities they represent, I received a very enlightening email message. Brian Mulholland, a fellow consultant from Belfast, made a comment about the source of soybeans in relation to global deforestation. Here’s an edited excerpt from his email that I believe is worth repeating:

“Much is made of the deforestation taking place in areas of Brazil and Argentina to replace the native tree species with soybeans. There is considerable opposition to this practice, and as a consequence, more and more consumers and supermarkets are requiring statements that the soybeans used in the production of their food have not come from deforested regions.”

I could not agree more and it was a major oversight on my part that I did not mention this as a challenge for the growth potential of soybean meal as a major global protein source, and the opportunity for those soybean producers that are not affected by the above issue.

In fact, after a bit of research on my part, I realized that Brazilian interests have argued for the abandonment of the Amazon soy moratorium. This is an agreement between EU and Brazil that allows the importation of Brazilian soybeans without concerns they cause further deforestation. Although this goes a bit beyond my qualifications as a nutritionist, I find this a sensible enough argument, but I will let politicians and interested consumer and trade groups decide what is best for the rest of us. Nevertheless, I cannot stop thinking how this desire to abandon the moratorium may be related to recent changes in the clientele for Brazilian soybeans. Apparently, such new clients are not interested as much about deforestation as they are for feeding their animals and population at low cost (at least for the present.)

As an afterthought, I wish Europeans were as sensitive back then when other similar resources were plucked out from around the globe, but as they say, it is never too late. That is, unless all these as many other cases are nothing more but another excuse to impose further trade barriers and/or find new ways to increase taxation.

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