SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — The Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (ABIOVE), which represents 15 companies producing bran, vegetable oils and biodiesels, has renamed its “Soy Plus” program “Agro Plus.”

The private agricultural technical assistance program in Brazil has assisted more than 8,000 rural producers, 3,200 properties, 3.9 million hectares of soy and generated approximately $6.8 million in investments since its inception 10 years ago. Now, the program will be expanded to include farmer training for growers of crops other than soy, including wheat, corn and sugarcane.

Major grain companies involved in ABIOVE include ADM, Amaggi, Bunge, Cargill and Cofco.

Bernardo Pires, sustainability manager of ABIOVE, said the expansion of the Agro Plus program will continue the association’s mission of contributing to the continuous improvement of national agricultural activity and build the image of Brazilian agribusiness in markets that increasingly are demanding sustainable products.

“In 10 years, the program has generated better social, environmental and economic opportunities in the main soy producing regions of the country and, due to these good results, its expansion to other chains was a very natural movement,” Pires said.

He added that with significant investment the Agro Plus program could be able to provide courses for more than 30,000 rural producers over the next three to five years.

“We are very excited about strengthening Brazilian agriculture as a whole and consolidating it even more as an activity with low impact and high productivity,” Pires said.

ABIOVE said the seven Brazilian states served by the program — Bahia, Maranhão, Piaui, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Minas Gerais — are responsible for approximately 80 million tonnes of soy produced during the 2020-21 harvest.