In Cairo, minister discusses sustainable agribusiness

Agriculture minister Tereza Cristina discussed environment-conscious practices employed by the industry in Brazil.

Isaura Daniel

Cairo – Brazil’s minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Tereza Cristina, spoke at a seminar Sunday (15) in Cairo, Egypt about sustainable practices in Brazilian agriculture, and about the industry’s environmental concerns. “While striving to increase the yields and quality of its agriculture, Brazil is putting in place mechanisms to protect its environment,” the minister told the audience at the Brazil-Egypt Business Seminar in the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce. The majority of attendees were Egyptian businesspersons and importers.

According to the minister, environmental conservation is a concern not only of Brazil’s government, but of agricultural producers themselves. “Brazil’s forest code law is an effective tool in protecting native vegetation, as it requires that 25% of private farms in the Cerrado area are left untouched, and as much as 80% in the Amazon biome,” said Tereza Cristina. According to her, the Ministry is encouraging low-carbon farming.

Actions being encouraged include recovery of degraded pastures, crop-livestock-forest integration, and direct planting. “Note that the value of Brazilian forests exceeds that of the environmental services rendered, and in 2017 it was BRL 4.4 billion (USD 1 billion) in extracted products like nuts and açaí, which provide the livelihood of thousands of families, especially in the Amazon area.”

The minister said the usual association between food production in Brazil and deforestation and fires in the Amazon is a farfetched distortion. “There really is a problem in the Amazon, and it’s being addressed with due seriousness, as I was able to attest in a recent visit to that part of Brazil,” she said regarding deforestation. According to her, Brazil never shied from acknowledging the gravity of the issue, and what needs doing – and is being done – is to identify and punish the culprits.

Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA) CEO Ricardo Santin also spoke on the sustainability of poultry farming and agribusiness in Brazil. “Bird production does not take place within the Amazon biome,” he said, explaining that the bulk of industry operations are Southern Brazil. According to him, Brazil’s poultry industry is one of the most sustainable in the world. Selling to Europe made it even more sustainable, he argued.

The seminar was part of an Agriculture Ministry mission to four Arab countries comprising businesspeople and government officials. Activities in Egypt wrapped up on Sunday (15), and the delegates will head to Saudi Arabia on Monday (16). They’re also slated to travel to Kuwait and the UAE. The trip ends next Sunday (22).

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

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