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Agriculture & Agribusiness

Land grabbing and illegal ranching (even on public lands) has long been, and still is, big business in the Brazilian Amazon. Last year the Brazilian government launched its most ambitious crackdown ever. And some of the criminals caught up in the federal police net were members of Brazil’s richest families. In June 2016, federal law enforcement pounced on...
In the early 2000s, public outrage over Amazon clear cutting for soy production caused transnational grain companies including Cargill, Bunge and Brazil’s Amaggi, to join with soy producers and environmental NGOs including Greenpeace to sign the voluntary Amazon Soy Moratorium, banning direct conversion of Amazon forests to soy after 2006. The agreement’s signatories have long proclaimed its phenomenal...
The development over the last 40 years of Mato Grosso state in Brazil’s interior as an industrial agribusiness powerhouse has, from the beginning, been hindered by a major economic problem: how to get the commodities to the coast for profitable export. The first route of export from Mato Grosso was a costly and time-consuming southern one, with commodities...
The meteoric rise in soy production in the state of Mato Grosso is eating up rainforest and savanna at a staggering rate, with 1.2 million hectares under production in 1991; 6.2 million hectares in 2010; and 9.4 million hectares by 2016. Much of that soy is being exported to China, and it is expected that Brazil will grow...
Sinop, a city of 125,000 people in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon in Mato Grosso state, is a modern success story. Prosperous and booming, the small urban center services a region dominated today by industrial agriculture. Few remember how the city came to be. As recently as the 1970’s, the Sinop region was mostly rainforest and occupied by...
São Paulo, March 22nd. With their usual fine sense of irony, the Federal Police named their latest operation, launched on Friday 17th,   “Carne Fraca” – the Flesh is Weak. The targets were Brazil’s biggest meat companies, all household names, exporters of billions of dollars worth of beef, chicken and meat products to over 150 countries. The two-year investigation, involving over...
A catastrophic setback to environmental and indigenous protections was narrowly averted last week when quick action from two federal deputies prevented the agricultural lobby from forcing passage of bills to authorize construction of three mega-industrial waterways in the Amazon and elsewhere. The Congress will likely pick up the bills again after the recess in February. They would authorize building many...
The Tapajós River Basin lies at the heart of the Amazon, and at the heart of an exploding controversy: whether to build 40+ large dams, a railway, and highways, turning the Basin into a vast industrialized commodities export corridor; or to curb this development impulse and conserve one of the most biologically and culturally rich regions on the planet. Those...
São Paulo, 15 March. Despairing of  finding justice in Brazil, cacique Ladio Veron of the Guarani Kaiowá indigenous people in Mato Grosso do Sul,  has set out on a 3 month trip to 10 European countries to appeal for help in reclaiming the lands taken from them by successive Brazilian governments, and now occupied by ranchers, farmers and sugarcane...
The Tapajós River Basin lies at the heart of the Amazon, and at the heart of an exploding controversy: whether to build 40+ large dams, a railway, and highways, turning the Basin into a vast industrialized commodities export corridor; or to curb this development impulse and conserve one of the most biologically and culturally rich regions on the planet. Those...

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