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American Shipper

Brazil soy producers denounce restrictions

Brazil soy producers denounce restrictions

A trade association representing Brazilian soy producers is denouncing a campaign by environmentalists that threatens to decrease soy product exports from Brazil.

   Environmentalists seeking to protect the Amazon rain forest claim the international demand for Brazilian soy'Brazil is the world's second largest producer after the U.S.'is prompting illegal clearing of rain forest land to make way for soy farming. The group Greenpeace has also tried to shut down an Amazon-region port developed by the U.S.-based agri-giant Cargill, making the same claim it had led to deforestation.

   The issue took on a new level of importance for Brazilian soy exporters on July 24, when major soy buyers in Europe said they would no longer purchase soy from Brazil unless the product could be certified as coming from a source that was not on deforested land.

   Now the Agricultural Federation of Mato Grosso has issued a statement rebutting the accusations. The group says that although about 10 percent of the total state of Mato Grosso is considered to be part of the Amazon rain forest; most of the soy farms are located in parts of the state that are not part of the Amazon rail forest region. The group did not say whether or not any rain forest land had been cleared for soy farming.

   The group added that contrary to claims of spreading soy farm operations, the amount of land used for soy farming is actually less during the 2006-2007 season because of heavy debt burdens.

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