Brazil agribusiness joins with NGOs to call for action on Amazon

SAO PAULO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Brazil’s leading meat export industry group and other agribusiness associations on Friday joined with nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to call for an end to deforestation on public lands, demanding government action as the Amazon rainforest burns.

Meat group Abiec and NGOs Imazon and IPAM are among the 11 Brazilian groups signing on to a campaign that also calls for protected conservation areas in the country to be maintained and the creation of a justice ministry task force to resolve conflicts over public land, according to a statement from the signatories.

The campaign also called for another task force to promote conservation and sustainable development of public forests where it is not already being done.

The highest number of forest fires since 2010 are tearing through the Amazon this year, data from the country’s space research agency revealed last month, provoking a global outcry that more must be done to protect the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

The protection of the Amazon, which absorbs vast amounts of greenhouse gas that causes global warming, is seen as vital to the fight against climate change. Roughly 60% of the Amazon lies in Brazil.

“The government needs to intensify the crackdown on the illegal market for land and stop criminals from acting,” said Marcello Brito, president of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association, another signatory.

“Agribusiness is being hurt by criminal organizations, and this is tainting the reputation of the sector and increasing legal insecurity and unfair competition to producers and companies,” Brito said in a statement. (Reporting by Ana Mano Writing by Jake Spring Editing by Jonathan Oatis)