Soy traders and producers in the Brazilian Amazon agreed to extend a moratorium on soybeans produced in recently deforested areas for another year, reports Greenpeace.
The moratorium, renewed Friday, has had an important role in reducing the impact of soy production in the Brazilian Amazon. Until it was signed in 2006, soy was a significant driver of deforestation in the region, especially in the states of Mato Grosso and Pará. Since then, only a fraction of new deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon can be directly attributed to soy production.
“The Soya Moratorium monitors 62 municipalities responsible for almost all of the soya produced in the Amazon. In this immense region, over 8 million hectares are covered by forested lands suitable for soya cultivation, and lack any official protection,” said Greenpeace in a statement.
“Since 2006, over 700,000 hectares of forest has been cleared in the 62 soya-producing municipalities that are monitored under the moratorium. These municipalities account for 97% of soya grown within the Amazon ecosystem. Only 4% of the 700,000 hectares of land cleared after 2006 – some 30,000 hectares – was planted with soya in the soya planting season of 2012-13.”
The moratorium resulted from a Greenpeace campaign against Western fast food companies that source source from the Amazon. The campaign particularly targeted McDonald’s, which responded by calling upon major suppliers to exclude deforestation from their supply chains.
Whether the moratorium would be renewed in 2014 was still a matter of debate as recently as a couple days ago. The moratorium is expected to be replaced in the near future by a mechanism developed by the Soya Working Group (GTS), a body of stakeholders.
Greenpeace, which has been closely involved in the process, says the getting next phase right will be critical to preventing future deforestation in the Amazon for soy.
“Deforestation on the rise again and new soya export infrastructure is in the pipeline at the heart of the Amazon, so the discussions ahead are critical,” said Paulo Adario, Senior Forest Advisor for Greenpeace International. “Today is the start of those negotiations. Only the talks – and the actual steps taken – over the next year will define how seriously the soya traders take their industry and clients. A new agreement must be even more robust than the current moratorium.”