In January 2017, Aprosoja-MT, ABIOVE, FEDIOL, FEFAC and IDH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to stimulate the production and trade of Brazilian responsible soy.
As a follow-up to this agreement, a 1st steering group meeting with approximately 20 people was held in São Paolo on 6 and 7 April 2017 to discuss and evaluate individual actions and projects that can feed into a joint strategic working plan for the Brazilian and European soy supply chain partners.
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The partners updated each other on their respective initiatives since the signing of the MoU. Aprosoja briefed the partners on the progress made on Soja Plus, a rural property management programme for soy farmers taking into account financial, social and environmental elements. They raised attention for ‘Geocloud’, a system that allows tracking technical visits to farmers in real-time and optimises the report sharing with farmers. Another development is the project ‘Referência’, which focusses on the financial management of properties and facilitates the integration of the Soja Plus programme. Aprosoja highlighted the development of a pilot project in Mato Grosso, with financial and technical support from IDH that aims to incentivise the recuperation of degraded land by farmers.
ABIOVE emphasised its ambition to implement the Soja Plus programme in the states of Piauí, Maranhão and Goiás as well as further expand the coverage in Minas Gerais and Bahia. They reminded the partners that more than 50% of deforestation in the Legal Amazon takes place on property owned by the government and cannot be tackled by the private sector.
IDH highlighted its ambition to work this year on the stimulation of supply chain systems that facilitate the connection between sustainable production and its respective market demand. A supply chain model that allows capturing the value generated by the Soja Plus programme is an example. They informed the partners about the $400 million investment by the World Economic Forum to stop illegal deforestation in tropical areas, facilitate reforestation and boost farming. IDH also marked the importance of PCI (Produzir, Conservar e Incluir – Produce, Conserve & Include), a development strategy in the fight against climate change to attract investments to the state of Mato Grosso to pool and integrate the different parties involved to obtain investments and tools to reach consolidated objectives as regards good agricultural practices.
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FEFAC informed the partners that it wants to increase the responsible production of raw materials used in animal feed. They also highlighted the progress being made on the preparation of the benchmarking of the Soja Plus programme against the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines, which would be essential for its recognition as a responsible soy programme to the EU feed industry. FEDIOL stated the importance of informing European institutions about the progress made in environmental governance in Brazil in both the public and private sector, especially in the context of the new Forest Code. The NGO Earth Innovation Institute contributed to the meeting with information about payment initiatives for environmental services to reduce CO2 emissions, such as the REDD, and its legal aspects. The consultant and lawyer Ludovino Lopes gave a presentation about existing environmental laws in Brazil and the challenges that need to be overcome. The Brazilian soy value chain sees the involvement of European users of soy in developing tools for financial compensation for environmental services and the financing of the Soja Plus programme as a very important factor.