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September 18, 2020

End deforestation initiative in Brazil gets ‘big meat’ backing

A Brazilian meat giant has signed up to an initiative to help end deforestation in its home market with a local peer reportedly following suit.

By Leonie Barrie

Brazilian meat giant Marfrig has signed up to an initiative to help end deforestation in its home market with local peer JBS reportedly following suit.

News agency Reuters reports the heavyweight duo are part of a coalition formed by 230 representatives of the agri-food sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other interested parties that has presented to Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and federal authorities a package of six actions to be taken to seek an end to deforestation in the country, especially in the Amazon area.

Environmentalists and others are concerned deforestation in the rainforest – much of to make space for further farming land – is having a catastrophic effect on the area.

Reuters said it has seen the document with the actions sent to President Bolsonaro, which says: “There is a clear and growing concern of different sectors of national and international society with the advance of deforestation.”

Deforestation has increased in the Brazilian Amazon since President Bolsonaro, who favours economic expansion over environmental protections, took office in 2019.

The new Brazil Climate, Forestry and Agriculture Coalition is calling for the resumption and intensification of inspections, with rapid and exemplary accountability for the identified environmental offences and the allocation of ten million hectares of land for protection and sustainable use.

Marfrig confirmed to just-food it is part of the coalition but did not comment further.

just-food has also asked JBS for a response to this story.

In June, a study published in the journal Science estimated up to a fifth of the European Union’s soy imports from Brazil could originate from illegally deforested land. The research calculated up to 17% of beef imports into the EU from Brazil are also linked to deforestation.

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