Soybean designed to grow on exhausted pasture land could help protect Amazon rainforest

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Slash and burn clearing of rainforest to create agricultural land seen from space

The agrichemical giant Syngenta wants to go green by developing specific varieties of soybeans to be grown away from the Amazon rainforest, on exhausted Brazilian pasture land, the company’s chief sustainability officer said.

“We will restore 1 million hectares of degraded land in Brazil,” Alexandra Brand told Morning Agri in an interview …. Brazilian soybeans, which go into animal feed for cattle in Europe and around the globe, are one of the main drivers of Amazon deforestation.

Down to the roots: Brand said the advancement of Syngenta’s varieties of genetically modified soybeans to be planted in former rainforest areas will be “just slower” than it is now. She stressed the main point is that: “We enable the Brazilian farmers to grow more soybeans but they can use different lands, they can use lands which are at the moment bare, which are deserted because of overgrazing of animals.”

Related article:  6 co-authors of controversial study that raised alarms about Oxitec’s GMO mosquito release in Brazil call for paper’s retraction

But does this mean the overall impact of Syngenta’s green pledge will simply be to create more soybeans for animal feed and thus more climate-harming meat-eating in Europe? “Unless European consumers don’t change their habits, yes,” Brand said.

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Urgency: Syngenta’s sustainability chief defended the scheme as the quickest action that could be taken, while high demand persists for meat ….

Read full, original article: POLITICO Pro Morning Agri and Food: Green goals — CAP ‘chaos’ in committee? — Syngenta soy safeguard (Behind Paywall)

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