Speaking at the World Meat Congress (WMC) in Paris this week, Senator Katia Abreu said: “We have an environmental code which is one of the most binding in the world – it’s very strict. When you look at the EU and US, I wonder how that code would be implemented and wonder how producers would react if they had to comply.”
Legislation to preserve and protect water was one example, she said, pointing to rules which require farmers to devote land around rivers to the planting of forests. “If you asked producers in France whether they’d like to give up 100m of land around rivers, how would they react?”
She said that, in the last 50 years, Brazil had developed the biggest agricultural system on the planet, and had still managed to preserve 61% of its territory.
When it comes to deforestation, she highlighted the fact that the government had pledged to reverse deforestation and recover 27,000 square kilometres down to 5,400 sq km by 2020. “The National Research Institute in Brazil has shown we’re down to 6,800 sq km, so we’re nearly at the target, eight years before the deadline.”
Despite all the strict legislation, she said the country was still able to increase its productivity through increased efficiency and better use of land.
When it comes to traceability, she announced that Brazil had invested in a new “agricultural management platform” which was the “largest database in the world” that would allow a consumer to trace their steak back to the farm and animal in Brazil. She said the system had been introduced following the criticism, back in 2006, over Brazilian traceability.
In light of the new system, she called on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to revise its opinions on countries like Brazil, which vaccinate against foot-and-mouth disease. “We cannot do without vaccination – not because the problem is Brazil, but because the disease is in neighbouring countries. We would like the OIE to reconsider its position of differentiated treatment according to the way each country has been able to get rid of foot-and-mouth.”