Brazil producing more meat using less land, JBS CEO says

FILE PHOTO: Employees walk around with face masks at the JBS USA meat packing plant, which on Monday was closed after numerous employees tested positive and two have died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Greeley, Colorado, U.S., April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Livestock suppliers in Brazil are producing more while using less land, as concerns mount about straining natural resources to produce food to feed a growing world population, Gilberto Tomazoni, global chief executive of the world's largest meatpacker JBS SA JBSS3.SA, said on Friday.

In remarks made during a panel discussion to mark World Food day, Tomazoni said meat production in Brazil tripled on a per hectare basis between 1990 and 2019.

Last month, JBS launched a 1-billion real fund to foster social and economic development in the Amazon, an initiative that the company says will help support local communities while also ensuring livestock production does not destroy the rainforest.

“We can guarantee 100% of our direct suppliers do not deforest the Amazon,” he told the panel. He added the company plans to use block-chain technology and will invest in other projects that would allow it to monitor the remainder of the supply chain.

The JBS fund is part of a wider company initiative to fight deforestation and climate change, including monitoring indirect cattle suppliers.

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion, Tomazoni said citing data from FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“Our challenge to feed the world will only become greater in the future,” Tomazoni said.

Reporting by Ana Mano; editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Nick Zieminski