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December 20, 2018

Brazil continues to emphasize Low Carbon Sustainable Agriculture

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The Brazilian government continues to put heavy emphasis on sustainable agricultural production as a way to meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, over the last eight years, Brazil has added 27 million hectares of sustainable agricultural production that emits less greenhouse gases. These sustainable practices account for 80% of the voluntary greenhouse gas reductions from the agricultural sector.

The push for sustainable agricultural production started in 2010 with the program "Low Carbon Agriculture" (Agricultura de Baixo Carbono - ABC). The program offered a line of credit for producers to incorporate sustainable agricultural practices, environmental preservation, and recuperation of degraded soils into their operations. Since 2010, the program has loaned out US$ 4.4 billion for such things as: recuperation of degraded pastures, integration of crops-livestock-forestry rotations, no-till crop production, and plantation forestry.

In fact, the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture recently launched a 10-year plan to add 2 million hectares of forestry plantations to the 10 million hectares that currently exists. These plantations of mainly eucalyptus and pines are located in the states of Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Sao Paulo, and Mato Grosso do Sul.

Agriculture occupies approximately 30% of Brazil's territory with forest plantations occupying less than 1% of Brazil's territory, but they account for 91% of Brazil lumber production. In the agricultural sector, the exports of forestry products is only exceeded in volume by exports of the soybean complex, meats, and sugar/ethanol. In dollar value, the export of forestry products is only exceeded by the soybean complex and meats.

The total money available for the ABC program in the 2018/19 Harvest Plan for purchasing such things as materials, inputs, fertilizers, and seeds for example equated to approximately 30% of the plan's resources devoted to agriculture and livestock production.