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Brazil: Agribusiness Undermines Environmental Leadership Role

Source:  Copyright 2008, Inter Press Service
Date:  May 22, 2008
Byline:  Mario Osava
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Brazil is a world leader in agriculture and on several environmental issues, but it will find it hard to reconcile both fronts, judging by the many battles lost by former environment minister Marina Silva, in spite of the political clout she wielded for over five years.

The advantages enjoyed by agriculture in this country are not limited to the availability of vast amounts of land and water, and a favourable climate. Brazil has developed technology and practices that have greatly increased crop yields, and made it an unbeatable exporter of a large number of products.

Brazil is a top producer of sugar, coffee, meats, ethanol, orange juice and soybeans. Output of grains has doubled in a decade, and it has surpluses of rice and maize, which it used to import a few years ago. Now it is dependent on imports of only one commodity for mass consumption: wheat.

Today, the boom of the biofuels industry and the soaring ...

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