Sustainable agriculture and livestock in Brazil: What it takes to separate the wheat from the chaff?

Agriculture in Brazil highlighted an impressive 400% increase in productivity while simultaneously reducing land use in the last decades. However, some rotten apples continue causing environmental damages in the Brazilian agribusiness.

Brazilian policy representatives, civil society and other stakeholders met on 15th of June in Berlin to discuss current challenges of the sustainability goals of agriculture and livestock in Brazil. The event “Agriculture and Livestock in Brazil – New Challenges for Sustainability” focused on successful supply chain governance initiatives in the soy and cattle sectors. Examples included Brazil’s Soy Moratorium and zero deforestation cattle agreements. Traceability systems and the environmentally-oriented political will of the new federal administration also underpinned the dialogue.

Among the challenges, the speakers highlighted the historical problem of land grabbing, the implementation gaps of the rural environmental registry (CAR), and the divergent trade standards in international markets. One thing was clear though: the role of international trade rules is a crucial, potentially effective solution for sustainable agriculture and livestock in Brazil.

On one hand, the debate highlighted how the new European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) is shaking things up for both Brazilian exporters and European importers. On the other hand, potential trade diversion and uncertainty around EUDR implementation instruments remain significant obstacles that may limit the full potential of the new regulation. In this latter point, CLEVER project results will be instrumental in clarifying how and under which conditions trade-related instruments can increase the efficiency of commodity supply chains and protect the environment.

The event was hosted by the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin and jointly organized by the Embassy, APD Brasil, and the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAPA). Carolle Alarcon (Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture), Luiza Bruscato (Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock – GTPS), and Mauro Armelim (Amigos da Terra – Amazônia Brasileira) were among the speakers.

Find out more: https://youtu.be/pB8RZnrKjXQ

Written by Dr. Gustavo Magalhaes de Oliveira – University of Bonn

Photo by Lourenço Furtado/AdobeStock

Efforts to fight global deforestation need trust-building dialogue

CLEVER representatives met with policy makers, civil society and other academia stakeholders on 13th of June in Berlin to discuss the new rules on sustainability of international agricultural value chains. The focus was at the EU’s landmark decision on its deforestation regulation in December 2022, and the impacts in Brazil. This regulation intends to increase the consumption of ‘deforestation-free’ products, by prohibiting specified commodities and products from being imported into the EU. If in one hand, the regulation comes with a good intention and in a proper political momentum for Brazil, on the other hand, such a unilateral measure can promote a “diversion trade”, which means, Brazil can shift their exports to a less demanding trading partner with lower incurred costs. Other points raised at the meeting were the lack of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of this type of policy, and the challenge of tracing the product from the plot of land to the EU.

Among the solutions, one word was often repeated and took centre stage: “partnerships”. Partnerships to develop traceability tools, platforms, and to increase the interoperability between traders. Overall, partnerships to support exporter governments to improve their own efforts to conserve the forest. One thing is clear: without this joint effort, the final goal of decreasing deforestation cannot be achieved. That is why, while the new EU regulation is not into force, all relevant stakeholders are increasing the dialogue to prepare the ground to conduct strict due diligence. In this setting, CLEVER project results will be key to provide to those stakeholders evidence-based information on potential impacts of this new regulation in both sides of this trade coalition.

The event was hosted by SWP, organized by APD Brasil, and supported by the GFA Consulting Group, IAK Agrar Consulting, GIZ, and BMEL.

Photo by Fernanda Martinelli

Written by Fernanda Martinelli – University of Bonn

Featured image by Adobe Stock/FootageLab