Study, recent Amazon fires highlight need for sustainable soy farming, aquafeed firm says
This year of historic fires in the Amazon rainforest has highlighted the need for “legitimate sources of deforestation-free soy products,” according to a statement from Danish aquafeed firm BioMar.
Through the company’s involvement with a responsible sourcing project led by NEPCon, an international nonprofit focused on sustainable land use, and Danish agriculture adviser SEGES, BioMar discovered that soy production still contributes to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest through legal loopholes. In one such loophole, according to the release, cattle ranchers will burn sections of forest to clear new pasture. When the resulting pasture becomes overgrazed, the land is subsequently sold to farmers for soy production.
“Unfortunately, people use the season of the ‘queimada’ or dry season, to illegally clear forest for cattle and crops with fire,” the statement reads. “This cheap and effective method of deforestation is hard to combat, and irreversibly harmful to indigenous people and wildlife.”
1.5% of production certified deforestation-free
Just 1.5% of the world’s soy production was certifiably deforestation-free in 2017, according to BioMar, 78% of which was produced in Brazil.
According to the company statement, BioMar is on track to sourcing 100% certified soy by 2020. The company sourced 92% of its soy from certified suppliers in 2018.
Pointing to an April 2019 report from the National Committee of The Netherlands, which concluded that some 110 million hectares could still be legally deforested for soy and beef production in Brazil, BioMar concluded that industry leadership will be critical to combating deforestation in South America.
“The importance of industry-led initiatives has become even more important considering current events in Brazil,” the statement reads, “where despite an impressive legal framework, effective enforcement and implementation of key legislation is hampered by the sheer size of the country, unstable political climate, and the lack of resources in key areas.”