Media organizations all over the United States are buzzing about the new Brazilian Forest Code, which impacts on the preservation of the Amazon jungle and at the same time seeks to maintain the steady supply of food in this South American nation.
The Amazon will continue to be the cradle of the world’s forests and biodiversity while at the same time maintain Brazil’s lead as a major supplier of food in the international market, according to leading Brazilian legislator Katia Abreau.
Sen. Abreu stressed the country’s role in sustainable development as she cited the need for a modern environmental legislation, which limits the opening of new areas for agricultural production but would likewise allow the Brazilian producers to maximize their food production.
Abreau who is also the president of the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA), an organization which represents Brazilian farmers that aims to maintain the steady supply of food locally and in the world market explained that only 27 percent of the country’s total land area are occupied by agriculture activity while 61 percent of said land area is still and will be, maintained by native vegetation.
Balancing agricultural production and environmental protection is one of the most important commitments of Brazilian farmers, who depend on a balanced ecosystem to continue producing, Abreau said.The evidence is that majority of the country’s national territory is still covered by lush forests and diverse ecosystems while agricultural productivity is centered on barely a quarter of the total area of Brazil.
The preservation of these areas is commensurate to “green savings.” Between 1976 and 2011, national grain production grew 228 percent and crop yields increased 151 percent.. During this period, the planted area grew much less, which is about 31 percent, she added.
If we are to use the same old technology used in the decade of 70’s and if these producers had not invested in new technologies, we would need 267 million acres, and not the current 122 million acres to
get the same production, the senator explained.
In the Amazon, the situation is no different. The Amazon biome is still intact as 86 percent of its original vegetation is still preserved, and will remain so because the new Forest Code maintains the rate of 80 percent as an area to be preserved within the legal reserve.
I am convinced that the balance between food production and environmental preservation is the best response to the need for sustainable development in our country. Brazil does not need to open new areas for agricultural production. Only with investment in technologies for the the field is it possible to expand the volume now being produced in only a quarter of the national territory.
The senator added that the intent of the agriculture industry with the new Forest Code is to ensure legal certainty for farmers and to consolidate the current production areas, which occupy 582 million acres or a mere quarter of Brazil’s territory. Of this total, almost 80 percent were already explored in 1965, when the the Forest Code was modified.
With the new Forest Code, Brazil will continue to have one of the strictest environmental laws in the world, including the requirement to maintain 20 percent to 80 percent of areas with native vegetation as the legal reserve within their properties; there is no requirement such as that anywhere else on the planet, she added.
The new legal framework seeks to balance agricultural production and environmental preservation, allowing the regularization of 90 percent of farmers in the country and the consolidation of areas occupied by these activities. In none of the articles in the bill approved by the House of Representatives, does it provide amnesty for those who illegally deforested.
It only suspends the fines of those who practiced deforestation before July 28, 2008, in order that rural producers can join a program of the Environmental Adjustment Program (PRA), while awaiting further evaluation of the environmental agency. After serving all requirements established by the PRA, the producer may have their fines converted into preservation services , and improvement and restoration of the quality of the environment. Those who practiced deforestation after the deadline, must accept the consequences, by recovering degraded areas and paying fines, among other punishments, the senator added. #