BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The Soy Moratorium, originally signed in 2006, was supposed to be terminated by Dec. 31. However, because of the need to perfect the official governance system for land use and occupation in the Amazon Biome through Rural Environmental Registration (CAR), the Soy Moratorium will go through a transition period until May 31, 2016, FEFAC said on Nov. 25.

On Nov. 25, a commitment to implement a new agenda for the transition of the Soy Moratorium in the Amazon Biome was signed at a Soy Task Force (GTS) meeting by Izabella Teixeira, minister of the environment; Carlo Lovatelli, GTS private sector coordinator and president of Brazilian Vegetable Oil Industries Association (ABIOVE); Paulo Adario, Greenpeace senior forestry statistician and GTS civil society coordinator; and Sergio Mendes, general manager of National Grain Exporters Association (ANEC).

Brazil has 5.6 million rural properties, which occupy 60% of the country’s total territory. Of that, 10% have completed CAR.

“However, the area registered is a much larger percentage as, up to now, it has been the larger properties that have registered,” said ABIOVE President Carlo Lovatelli.

The commitment holds GTS members to monitor by satellite the Amazon Biome municipalities with over 5,000 hectares of soy crops. The reference date for the Soy Moratorium is also being updated, from July 2006 to July 2008, in accordance with the new Forest Code.

Monitoring by satellite will continue to be done by Agrosatélite and verified by INPE (National Space Research Institute) to certify that methodology and procedures are being followed. The objective of satellite monitoring is to identify soy plantings in areas of the Amazon Biome that were deforested after July 2008 and, consequently, to evaluate if there are “hot spots,” or municipalities with intense deforestation, so as to provide orientation for steps to be taken by the government and by the GTS.

Another commitment the GTS members have in common is to promote awareness among soy producers and provide support so that they comply with the provisions of the Forest Code, especially implementation of CAR and PRA (Environmental Regularization Program). The GTS will support federal and state governments in implementing CAR and PRA in the main soy-producing towns of the Amazon Biome so that they meet the Forest Code deadlines. ABIOVE believes that this registration will bring legal security to the rural producers and will serve as an essential tool for better management of rural properties. In addition, the GTS will promote programs for best production practices and will work to build a new mechanism that reconciles adequate economic remuneration with forest conservation.

The mapping of soybeans in deforested areas of the Amazon Biome, published on Nov. 25, concludes that the seventh Soy Moratorium monitoring cycle (crop year 2013-14) identified 47,028 hectares planted with soybeans, corresponding to 0.9% of the accumulated deforestation in the Amazon Biome. This monitoring cycle was part of the pact signed in July 2006 by ABIOVE and ANEC that banned trading soybeans from deforested areas of the Amazon Biome.

Although these 47,028 hectares correspond to an increase of 61% in the 2013-14 crop, compared to the 2012-13 harvest, this area is very small when compared to the Amazon Biome’s deforested area since July 2006, a total of 5.2 million hectares. It should be emphasized that 99.1% of the deforestation is caused by economic activities other than soy production. As Agrosatélite’s report states, “Based on this survey, we can conclude that soybeans do not play an important role in Amazon Biome deforestation”.

GTS members made the following commitments for the transition period:

• ABIOVE and ANEC are committed through May 31, 2016 not to trade, acquire or finance soybeans from areas of the Amazon Biome that were deforested after July 2008, as well as those from areas on IBAMA’s list of embargoed deforested areas and/or on the Ministry of Labor & Jobs’ list of working conditions analogous to slavery.
• Civil society organizations participating in the GTS are committed to supplying information and specialized technical assistance related to the correct and effective implementation of the agreement, as well as to defending internally and externally the creation of incentive mechanisms for remuneration of environmental services rendered and conservation of forests on the rural properties covered by the commitment.
• The Ministry of the Environment is committed to supporting CAR and PRA implementation, with priority for soy-producing towns in the Amazon Biome, forging close links with state environmental entities; to defending in national and international forums, in cooperation with other government entities, the development of programs that recognize Brazil’s sustainable soy production; and to articulating incentives for producers who adopt consistent programs for protecting the forests on their properties, as well as incentives for the recovery of Areas of Permanent Preservation and the Legal Reserve.  It is the Ministry’s responsibility, through IBAMA, to oversee the polygons with soybeans planted on deforested areas after July 2008.