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Rapid Expansion of Soybeans Farming Could Threaten Cerrado Savanna

Rapid Expansion of Soybeans Farming Could Threaten Cerrado Savanna

Brazil could be hurled to being the world’s biggest producer and exporter of soybeans. The rapid expansion of soybean farming in Brazil is likely to destruct the Cerrado savanna. According to our database, Brazil is the world’s top soybean exporter, accounting for over 40% of total soybean exports. In 2021, soybean shipments worth US$38,638 million from Brazil departed to the global countries.  

Soybean acreage in Brazil has expanded from roughly 25 million hectares in 2011-12 to nearly 40 million hectares in 2021-22, an astounding growth rate of 60%. Most analysts attribute the surging soybean prices as the primary factor in the beans acreage expansion in Brazil.

Soybean Exports From Brazil in a Decade

Brazil is the world’s top exporter of soybeans, accounting for more than 40% to total soybean exports. Brazil is followed by the United States, sharing almost 40% of global soybean exports. Argentina, Paraguay, and Canada are other exporters of soybeans. According to our database, Brazil exported soybeans worth US$38,638 million to the world, an increase of about US$10,000 million as compared to the previous year. Visualize soybean exports from Brazil in the last ten years. 

Brazil Soybean Exports – By Year

Brazil’s Exports of Soybean by Destination Country 2021

China is the largest importer of Brazilian soybeans, sharing 70% of the total value of shipments. Brazil’s other export destinations of soybeans are Spain, Thailand, the Netherlands, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Vietnam, Mexico, and Taipei. Check share in values and dollar amounts of these countries.

Brazil Soybean Exports (2021) – By Country

Environmental Cost

Although soybean farming has brought immense wealth to Brazil, prosperity has not come without its fair share of environmental costs. Brazil’s income from oilseed sales accounted for roughly 25% of the country’s total earnings from the Agriculture sector.

The Amazon rainforest has borne the maximum brunt of the unabated soybean farmland expansion in the late 20th century. Now Cerrado savanna could possibly be under greater threat in the next decade as farmers search for new acreage. Cerrado is located in the East-Central of Brazil and is a vast tropical savanna that has already lost over half of its native vegetation to beans farming since the turn of the century.

Amazon Relatively Unhurt

There is a general perception that the rapidly expanding Brazilian soybean farming is pushing the Amazon rainforest towards a tipping point. But the fact is that soybean farmland expansion in the Amazon has slowed down considerably in the past decade.

Brazil is into agricultural powerhouse due to industrial farming in South America’s largest savanna. Soybean producers may be lured to get away from the Amazon rainforest. However, the destruction of the Cerrado savanna is hastening global warming, damaging watersheds, and thus putting wildlife at risk.


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