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December 11, 2015

Chinese and Brazilian Delegations Discuss Soybean Production

A Chinese trade mission recently met in Brazil with various Brazilian trade and environmental groups to discuss the current state of soybean production in Brazil and the future prospects for soybean production. The Chinese delegation wanted to better understand the nature of sustainable soybean production which has been heavily promoted in Brazil in recent years.

Earlier this week, meetings were held in Sao Paulo and then the delegations moved to Mato Grosso for as closer look at just how soybeans are being produced in central Brazil.

The Chinese trade mission consisted of officials from 13 Chinese companies including: Cofco, China Soy Association, Hopeful Group, Sinograin, Chongping Grain Group, CP Group, Shandgong Scents, Shandong Shengquan, and Fundacao Moore. The Brazilian participants included: The Nature Conservancy, Solidaridad, the World Wildlife Fund, the Brazilian Vegetable Oil Producers (Abiove), the Mato Grosso Soybean and Corn Producer Association (Aprosoja), and the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea).

The environmental groups explained the steps that have been taken in conjunction with producer and commodity groups in Brazil to develop what they call sustainable soybean production. Sustainable production is not well defined, but it generally consists of using the best agricultural practices available while adhering to environmental regulations and worker rights.

Environmental groups in Brazil feel that they have the most advanced environmental regulations of any nation in South America and they requested that the Chinese hold the producers in Argentina and Paraguay to the same high standards as in Brazil. The Chinese delegation is scheduled to visit both Argentina and Paraguay in 2016.

One of the steps that the environmental groups are most proud of is the prohibition of purchasing soybeans from areas where producers have illegally deforested their land. This project, in conjunction with the prohibition of purchasing beef and forestry products from the same areas, has contributed to a significant reduction in deforestation in Brazil in recent years.

Officials from Abiove indicated that most of Brazil's soybean exports go to China and they reiterated their desire for China to purchase more value added products such as soybean meal and soybean oil. For their part, the leader of the Chinese delegation indicated that their group members imported 20 million tons of soybeans and they are the largest purchaser of Brazilian soybeans.

What appeared to impress the Chinese delegation the most was the presentation by Imea officials indicating the tremendous potential for increased soybean and corn production in Mato Grosso over the next ten years. The delegation is scheduled to meet with soybean producers in the city of Lucas do Rio Verde and see for themselves how soybeans are being produced in Mato Grosso.