3/9/2005 - The first ever-global Roundtable on Sustainable Soy (RSS) willgather environmental and social organizations with businessesrepresentatives from the soy supply chain, from growers to fodder mills,meat producers, and retailers to discuss environmentally sound, sociallyresponsible, and economically viable production of soy.
To obtain more information, please visit: http://www.sustainablesoy.org .
Soy is one of the fastest growing industries in South America. While itsproduction is a major source of income, the extensive cultivation alsobrings about high ecological and social costs.
The cultivated area for soybean has more than doubled over the past 10years in the main soy producing countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, andParaguay. Soy exports from these countries are boosted by a high demand inthe European Union and China, where the crop is used to feed pigs,chickens, and cattle.
Soy demand is expected to increase by 60 per cent in the next 20 years,which could lead to the loss of an additional 16 million hectares ofsavannahs, and 6 million hectares of tropical forests in the regionaccording to a recent WWF's study. Much of this could be avoided if soywas grown on existing pastures, and alternated with cattle ranching,rather than at the expense of valuable natural habitats.
WWF is convinced that soy production can go hand in hand with conservationof forests and with the preservation of livelihoods of people by adoptingproper land-use planning and good plantation practices such as bufferzones, species protection, sustainable water management, and responsibleuse of agrochemicals.
The RSS is an initiative of WWF and a group of committed stakeholders:
Coop Switzerland -- A Swiss retailer active for several years in the fieldof sustainable production of food and non-food products.
Cordaid -- Catholic international organization for relieve and developmentaid, based in the Netherlands.
Fetraf-Sul/CUT -- Workers Federation in Family Agriculture of SouthRegion. It has more than 150 unions of rural workers in the south regionof Brazil.
Grupo Andre Maggi -- Brazilian producer based in the area of Mato Grosso.This group processes above 3,000 tons a day of soybean and produces nearly400,000 tons per year.
Unilever -- Anglo Dutch manufacturer with operations in over 100countries, and markets in over 150 countries.
WWF -- the global conservation organization, is the largest and mostrespected independent conservation organization in the world. WWF¥sinvolvement in the RSS comes through the Forest Conversion Initiative, aprogram to ensure that palm oil and soy expansion no longer threatensvaluable forests and endangered species.
"Managing the soy boom" -- This WWF-commissioned report describes theexpansion of soy cultivation in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguayand develops scenarios for the future.
hree case studies on social and environmental impacts of soy production inBrazil: http://www.panda.org/downloads/forests/impactsofsoybean.pdf
Reports and factsheets are available at:http://www.panda.org/forests/conversion
For further information:
Monica Echeverria, communications coordinator for Latin America and theCaribbean, WWF-International, TEL: 202-778-96-26 email@example.com. Cellular number in Brazil, during theconference: (55-61) 8162-3182
Dieter Muller, communications officer, WWF Forest Conversion Initiative,WWF-Switzerland, TEL: 41-44-297-22-25, or firstname.lastname@example.org