May 12, 2015

ADM starts Sustainable Soybean Production Program in Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

In a move to satisfy concerns of its European customers, ADM has announced the start of program in which they will certify the soybeans they purchase in Brazil as being from sustainable production. Some of the goals of sustainable production is that it is not contributing to Amazon Rainforest destruction and it adheres to social and environmental sustainability. Other goals of the program are to reduce chemical and water use as well as contributing to the social and economic wellbeing of the workers. This is a small but growing trend in Brazil to satisfy concerns primarily from European customers.

Initially, ADM will certify 120 of the 6,000 Brazilian farmers who produce soybeans for them that the soybeans were produced sustainably. Other companies have started similar programs as well and the whole movement is expected to continue expanding.

Members of the Brazilian Vegetable Oil Producers Association (Abiove) recently traveled to Europe to promote their Soybean Plus program which entails many of the same goals as sustainable soybean production. Abiove members, which include most of the large multinational grain companies and agricultural processing companies, have joined with the Brazilian government to extend the moratorium on the purchase of soybeans from illegally cleared areas until 2016. This moratorium, as well as a moratorium on beef produced in these same regions, have put a lot of downward pressure on illegal land clearing.

By 2016 the Brazilian government hopes to have registered most of the Brazilian farms as having complied with the new Forestry Code passed in 2012. The new code requires landowners to reestablish forest along streams and rivers as well as in areas that were illegally cleared in recent years.

Brazil exports 70% of its soybean production to China with most of the remaining soybeans exported to European customers. ADM has indicated that they will start a similar program in Paraguay as well.