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dez 14, 2017
Food and Beverages

Brazil’s agriculture is the most sustainable among large producers

A new survey from the Climate Policy Initiative points Brazil as the world’s foremost agricultural producer incorporating rigorous environmental legislation. Brazilian agribusiness, of increasing global importance as food demand grows, has the most sustainable practices among all countries carrying large-scale farming.

Researchers from Rio de Janeiro’s Pontifical Catholic University (PUC-Rio) worked with scientists from the Climate Policy Initiative to compare how forest codes interact with farming practices.

The study’s authors, researchers Joana Chiavari and Cristina Leme Lopes, compared Brazil with Argentina, China, France, Germany, Canada and the United States, which are the world’s largest agricultural exporters. The survey provides information on Permanent Preservation Areas (PPAs) in each country, along legislative initiatives to conserve biodiversity.
According to the survey, “Brazil is the country that has - by far - the largest stretches of marginal watercourse protection”. In certain countries, including Germany, while laws oblige companies to keep some distance from natural water sources, “the use of fertilizers in those areas are allowed, provided that good agricultural practices are adopted”.

However, the survey is not restricted to the laws already in place in different countries, which evidence distinct implementations and effects. The study seeks to understand how different practices, policies and instruments contribute to biodiversity conservation in the context of agricultural production.

Brazil is well ahead of other countries in terms of environmental preservation, even involving agricultural practices, according to the survey. By comparison, the US – one of Brazil’s big competitors in terms of exports – does not oblige producers to maintain PPAs in agricultural areas. Meanwhile, even countries with stricter legislations such as Germany allowed for economic exploitation of preserved areas.

“Comparing forest legislation from different countries, we conclude that Brazilian laws have a very high degree of native vegetation protection,” says Juliano Assunção, an economics professor at PUC-Rio and executive director of the Nucleus of Climate Policy Evaluation (CPI/NAPC). “It is a differentiating element of our production that can and should be explored in trade negotiations.”

Further findings showed that while all countries have some form of biodiversity legislation and laws aiming to preserve endangered species, the legal force of protected areas on private property varies according to the country.
“A rigorous environmental legislation coupled with technologies that increase productivity and reduce the demand for land, as well as sustainability policies in the field, are elements that contribute to this improvement,” says Roberto Jaguaribe, president of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), which supported the study along with the Brazilian Rural Society (SRB). “And this, of course, favors the positive image of Brazil's agribusiness exports.”