November 11, 2019 / 9:20 PM / 25 days ago

Grain traders oppose end of Brazil's soy ban in Amazon rainforest

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil’s soybean traders association Abiove said on Monday it opposes a movement led by some farmers to end the country’s so-called soy moratorium, an agreement that bars trade in soy grown in newly deforested areas in the Amazon rainforest.

A group of farmers announced last week that they would seek to cancel the soy moratorium, claiming they had the support of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Global grains traders signed on to the moratorium voluntarily more than a decade ago, agreeing not to buy soy from Amazon areas deforested after 2008. But farmers complain that is far more restrictive than current legislation under Brazil’s Forest Code, which allows for a land owner in the Amazon to clear up to 20% of the land for agricultural activities.

Abiove’s president Andre Nassar told reporters that the moratorium is commodities traders’ only tool to monitor eventual use of deforested areas in the Amazon to cultivate grains and that the policy would continue to be used.

Nassar said that there is already legislation in Brazil that lays out tools allowing for other types of oversight for agriculture in the Amazon, such as the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), that have yet to be fully implemented.

It is not the role of commodities traders to develop that system and propose its use, he said on the sidelines of the BiodieselBR 2019 Conference on Monday.

“Governments should do that, use available data and tools to tell traders which farmer is doing ok, and which is not,” Nassar said.

The discussion comes at a moment when Brazil’s agricultural sector is under heavy scrutiny due to a major increase in Amazon deforestation this year.

“We would like to use some other tool to monitor land use in the Amazon, but right now there is none,” Nassar said.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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