New Paper Looks at Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts of Soy Production in Brazil
The Journal of Agriculture and Human Values has published the paper “From colonization to “environmental soy”: A case study of environmental and socio-economic valuation in the Amazon soy frontier” by Grassroots International’s Resource Rights Specialist Corrina Steward. The paper examines the socio-economic and environmental implications of soy development in Santarém, Pará, located in the Brazilian Amazon. Based on field research, Steward demonstrates that historical processes, government policies and soy actors’ (local government, agribusiness, conservation NGOs, and small farmers) values are influencing the buy-out of small farmers’ land for soy farms. She shows that the way in which these different actors value forests and how they structure their definition of environmental degradation is a key factor in determining who “wins” and “loses” in soy development. The significant environmental and socio-economic implications of soy expansion, especially for the small farmers, are not taken into account because the dominant rhetoric of Amazonian development ignores their contribution to social and ecological diversity. Several environmental solutions are explored in Steward’s paper, including ones put forward by small farmers and social movements that have their roots in local knowledge and food sovereignty.