In June 2004 the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a report about the soy production called: 'Managing the Soy Boom: Two scenarios of soy production expansion in South America. The reports' main conclusion is that the expanding soybean cultivation is threatening to destroy nearly 22 million hectares of forests and savanna in South America by 2020. The report warns that the demand for soy is expected to increase by 60% in the next 20 years, which could lead to the loss of approximately 16 million hectares of savannas and 6 million hectares of tropical forests in the region. Soy exports from South America are boosted by a high demand in the European Union and China, where the crop is mainly used to feed pigs, chickens and cattle.
The following letter was written following a meeting in Amsterdam with the CAO, Compliance Advisory Ombudsman of the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the part of the World Bank giving loans to the private sector. Following complaints on a second loan being granted to Amaggi, the biggest monoculture soy exporter and producer, in Brazil in 2004, IFC's CAO produced an audit. In this audit they state for example that the categorisation of the project as category B, which is a project with low risk, was not fully justified unless some conditions were met, as adequately assuring itself of whether or not the Environmental and Social Management System would afford an appropriate level of environmental and social protection. This audit, together with lots of criticism by civil society organisations should be a clear signal for the IFC that investing in large scale monocultures in Brazil and Latin America, is unacceptable and in no way meeting the so called commitment of the World Bank Group to “improve land use management and support environmentally-sound economic activity and infrastructure, especially in the poorest areas of the Amazon and in areas of serious or anticipated land use conflict”.
From Asuncion – Paraguay- An Maeyens, A SEED Europe, 20th of August, 2006
In Paraguay, the expansion of monocultures like soy leads to an agricultural model in which peasants have no stand. The soy production model is an export-orientated agro-industrial model that generates wealth for a few and poverty for many. Almost half of the population in Paraguay consists of farmers, peasants and indigenous, while land concentration in terms of the percentage of land that is in the hands of large landholders, is one of the highest of the world. The lack of access to land causes poverty, malnutrition, social marginalisation, rural unemployment and the migration of hundreds of families. For this reason, land reform is one of the most important challenges that the country faces. Since July 2006 the MCNOC (National coordination platform of peasant organizations) reintensified their campaign for integral land reform. In response, communities have been violently repressed by militaries and police forces. Thousands of families are currently living under threat.
The Development Model for Soy in Paraguay- Irresponsible, Unsustainable and Anti-Democratic.
The role of large scale soy production in the destruction of land, water, communities and ecosystems in Paraguay.
Indigenous Peoples’ and peasant Farmers' organisations, community associations and other civil society groups in Paraguay who are signatories to this Declaration categorically reject the raw material export development model which has been condemned worldwide because of the environmental devastation it causes.
In particular, we reject large scale soy production which uses massive amounts of agro-chemicals, pesticides and genetically modified organisms, plunders our natural and cultural heritage, excludes and evicts communities from their land, concentrates power and decision-making about our national economy into the hands of a few, and thus undermines the sovereignty of our nation and its peoples and communities.
PRESS RELEASE March 15, 2006
Grupo de Reflexión Rural from Argentina presents a new report providing detailed accounts of the current violent acts against rural and indigenous communities in Paraguay, which are strongly related to the expansion of (GM) soy production. Witnesses of the cases exposed in the report will be present at the coming United Nations conferences on Biosafety (MOP3) and Biodiversity (COP8).
This conference under the cynical name 'Round Table on Responsible Soy' did gather transnational corporations and mainstream NGOs in Paraguay's capital, Asuncion from August 31 till September 2 2006. They discussed soy cultivation related problems. Sounds nicer than it is, as their starting point is the continuation of the current production model and only mitigate the expansion that is causing destruction in South American producing countries. Wordwide large scale soy producers, traders and processors are trying to 'greenwash' their business throught this event. That's why there is a lot of resistance from peasant movements, environmental and social organisations and academics.
Swiss peasant activist attacks WWF and FSC on palm-oil and soy certificates.
How large environmental NGOs oil the wheels of the international agri- and forestry business.
Probably there is no child in Switzerland who doesn't know the cuddly panda, the image and logo of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Many even donate part of their pocket money for the conservation of tigers and elephants; for projects meant to protect their natural habitat. Yet hardly anybody is aware that the WWF is organizing ‘round tables’ with those who, fueled by mass consumption in the North, bear the main responsibility for the gigantic network of destruction. Let us therefore take a critical look at the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil and at the Roundtable for Responsible Soy, and also at the timber label FSC – the Forest Stewardship Council.
— (in dutch) for download here —
This thesis is about the impacts of soy expansion in Paraguay. More specific it investigates which factors, caused by the expansion of soy monoculture, lead to the migration of Paraguayan campesinos (peasants) from their rural communities. It also investigates which groups are most affected by soy-expansion and how the groups that stay resist the soy expansion. Campesinos find themselves being pushed out by soy expansion, resulting in migration to other rural communities or urban slums. The only organizations that oppose these developments locally and in the countryside are campesino-organizations.
Already over 100 organisations and networks signed the statement!
On April 23-24 many companies involved in the large scale production and trade of soy will be meeting in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. Peasant movements and social and ecological groups have published a statement to expose that those companies are not the right ones to talk about so called 'responsible soy'. They are the core of the problem and not part of the solution.