The workshop opened with remarks made by Liu Denggao of the China Soybean Industry Association and Andrea Bertolini, Agriculture Councilor at the Embassy of Brazil in Beijing. Over 40 participants attended the full day workshop with representatives from the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso’s Soy Producer Association (Aprosoja), and the Brazilian Vegetable Oils Industry Association (ABIOVE). Leading Chinese soy importing companies including Jiusan Group, Hopefull Group, Sinograin, COFCO, CP Group, and Chongqing Grains, among others attended to discuss the challenges and solutions to sustainable soy production and procurement.
Brazilian soy sector representatives shared the challenges soy producers face in complying to Brazil’s strict environmental regulations, the Brazil Forest Code. Fabio Trigueirinho of ABIOVE shared the current market trends of soy in Brazil. Ricardo Arioli Silva of Aprosoja shared the sustainability initiatives producers are taking through the Soja Plus programme. The free programme jointly developed by Aprosoja and ABIOVE provides trainings to soy producers to comply with the Brazil Forest Code.
Representatives from IDEAS Centre, Earth Innovation Institute, Forest Trends and the Nature Conservancy shared their perspectives on viable ways to promote sustainable production, including enabling government policies, jurisdictional sourcing, and cross-boarder carbon offset.
Tan Lin, executive president from Hopefull Group moderated the afternoon discussion, inviting Chinese company representatives to share their perspectives. Recognizing that China is the biggest market for soy, and how to link the two countries together, Martin Ma, managing director of Solidaridad China remarked “the linkages are not fully there yet. Today is the beginning. We are at a milestone that the two associations from China and Brazil are at the same table.”
The discussion closed with the MOU Signing Ceremony between Aprosoja, ABIOVE, and the China Soybean Industry Association to build cooperation in the future and to make steps toward eliminating deforestation from soy production in Brazil since the Chinese Soy Industry Association recognizes the Soja Plus programme. While much work lies ahead, the event marked a historical breakthrough to strengthen dialogue and cooperation for sustainable soy trade between Brazil and China.
Solidaridad organized the workshop as part of an ongoing project, the Sustainable Soy Trade Platform (SSTP) jointly with three other international organizations funded by the Moore Foundation that was launched in March of last year. In December 2015, Solidaridad organized a delegation of seven Chinese companies on a study tour to Brazil to see first hand the environmental impacts from soy production. During the trip, the delegation met with Aprosoja and ABIOVE, from whom the China Soybean Industry Association was first introduced to Soja Plus. For more information, visit our website at www.sustainablesoytrade.org