News / 23 May 2012

Civil society organisations in South America are positive about combatting the increase of soy production together

Large-scale soy production is causing continuous problems in South America such as land seizure, public health issues and loss of valuable natural areas. The Ecosystem Alliance - a cooperation of Both ENDS, IUCN NL and Wetlands International - enabled twenty South American civil society organisations to compose a plan together. The organisations are all directly or indirectly involved in soy issues. Both ENDS attended a meeting in Brazil at the end of March: participants from Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and the Netherlands gathered to identify communal problems and work towards a combined strategy to combat these.

Constructing soy fields often causes large-scale deforestation and land seizure. The soy - which is cultivated for export - seizes fertile land from the local population. Besides that, the use of pesticides causes great public health risks and contributes to water pollution among other things. The soy production is supervised by great landowners and traders, who can carry through laws for their own advantage. This makes it hard for the local population to rise up against wrong-doings. Meanwhile, the demand for soy is increasing, especially through the rise of countries like China and India.

Dutch Soy coalition
The Dutch are the second largest takers of soy, which is mainly used as cattle-fodder. The Dutch soy coalition, of which the secretariat is led by Both ENDS, is involved with initiatives that work towards 100% certified soy in 2015. The decrease and replacement of soy is also stimulated. Besides that, southern organisations are involved in measures to decrease the impact of soy production and stimulate sustainable soy cultivation. By linking civil society organisations to producers and users, processes to prevent further expansion of soy plantations, are put into motion.

Land Use Planning
Through Land Use Planning, areas that may or may not qualify for soy production are mapped and supervised. It turns out that local organisations possess a lot of knowledge on planning processes and have a good vision on possibilities for improvement, especially when it concerns the role of civil society organisations. Even though mutual contact exists between the organisations, the meeting in March provided the opportunity to strengthen old ties and create new ones. During the meeting, organisations stood very positive towards cooperation. Among other things, steps towards communal monitoring have been agreed upon. The twenty organisations will meet again in one year to make up a new balance.


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