Thursday, August 22, 2013

Brazil to Promote Sustainable Agriculture

SÃO FELIX DO XINGU, Brazil – The Brazilian municipality of Sao Felix do Xingu is eager to win the seal of sustainable quality that will allow it to lose once and for all the title of the Amazon’s “king of the chainsaw,” which had put its economy at risk.

Sao Felix was the undisputed leader on the blacklist of Brazilian municipalities that caused the most devastation to the Amazon jungle, according to a report issued in 2008 by the Environment Ministry.

Being on that list meant the cutting off of all lines of credit as well as losing access to the market for meat produced in that municipality, which has the largest cattle-breeding capacity in Brazil.

Since then the stock raisers, meat-packing companies, non-governmental organizations and local authorities have joined forces to change the cattlemen’s mentality and adopt sustainable practices.

The goal is to obtain a seal of quality, which would serve to boost the price of the meat produced with intensive practices and eliminate the clearing of vast tracts of rain forest for cattle grazing, Wilton Batista, president of the city’s agricultural association, told Efe.

That seal would further expand an experiment already being carried out on 16 ranches covering a total of 50,000 hectares (124,000 acres) and raising some 90,000 head of cattle, and which at the moment represent “an island of technology.”

That project, called More Sustainable Ranching, was first promoted in 2012 by two giants, the Brazilian food company Marfrig, the third-largest beef producer in the world, and the U.S. supermarket chain Walmart, under the supervision of The Nature Conservancy. EFE

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