The ongoing issue of deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has driven Aprosoja, Brazil’s largest association for soy farmers, to cut ties with the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (ABAG). The decision was made in light of ABAG’s opposition to the Brazilian government’s refusal to address deforestation in the Amazon.
Earlier this month, ABAG was one of over 200 non-government organizations (NGOs), associations, and companies which called upon President Jair Bolsonaro and his government to begin tackling an environmental problem which has intensified in recent years.
In an interview, Aprosoja president Bartolomeu Braz Pereira claimed that ABAG’s decision to side with NGOs was not only detrimental to the environment but also caused Aprosoja’s stances on Amazon issues to be neglected.
“Our voice wasn’t heard any more,” he said. “NGOs have no interest whatsoever in preserving the environment.”
Pereira added that through their actions, ABAG was now complicit in ruining the reputations of soy farmers in rural areas in and around the Amazon.
Aprosoja has thus far agreed with the stance of many other farmers across Brazil as well as President Bolsonaro by claiming that many of the country’s NGOs had actively attempted to destroy the public image of Brazil’s agricultural sector by framing it as a destroyer of the Amazon. This belief stands in contrast to that of many environmental advocates and activists who believe that Bolsonaro’s policies have facilitated illegal farming, mining, and ranching activities in the rainforest.
Last week, commenting on the Brazilian media’s treatment of soy farmers, Antonio Galvan who is Aprosoja’s president for the state of Mato Grosso said, “It is a fact, especially in the media, that blame ends up falling on soy producers who are then accused of being criminals by society. Aprosoja does not and will never defend illegal acts. However, it is necessary to distinguish between illegal acts committed with criminal intent and other acts committed out of necessity due to a lack of governmental action.”
ABAG would not make any comments on Aprosoja’s departure from the association but claimed it would not be affected by the decision of any organization which wished to do so.
A large portion of the deforestation which has taken place in Brazil and other parts of South America has been caused by the effects of soy production. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions from Brazil can be traced to deforestation linked to soy production as well as other forms of agriculture.
Over the 12 months spanning July 2019 to July 2020, deforestation in the Brazilian portion of the Amazon increased by 34.5%, according to statistics gathered by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
28th September 2020 15:41
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