Brazil is the second-largest soy producer in the world, and the country’s producing area is expected to increase considerably over the next ten years. To help ensure that this development is sustainable – for the environment, the local farmers, and their communities – Bayer is working together with Brazil’s main agricultural cooperatives.
Agricultural cooperatives are a long-established tradition in Brazil. Their work is deeply rooted in the principles of sustainable agriculture and they operate across several stages of the value chain. Bayer works together with eight major Brazilian cooperatives, focusing on sharing expertise to benefit not only the farm business but also the environment and the livelihood of these communities.
The cooperatives are:
Together they are responsible for about 10% of the soy production in Brazil. “These cooperatives safeguard not only the development of their 63,690 members – but also improve the livelihoods of all the farm families and communities where these organizations operate,” said Jorge Karl, CEO of Agrária.
The future of sustainable soy
On May 28, senior representatives of these eight Brazilian cooperatives visited the Bayer Crop Science Headquarters in Monheim and the Bayer ForwardFarm in Rommerskirchen to discuss with Bayer experts the future of sustainable soy production and how to better connect the market, from growers to end consumers. “It was a great opportunity for them to learn more about our Food Chain Partnership approach through which we successfully connect the various stakeholders along the value chain in tangible initiatives,” said Stephan Brunner, Key Relation Manager at Bayer. “I think everyone involved gained new insights into how we can make soy sourcing more sustainable.”
Alexander Döring, Secretary General of the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC), was also invited to join the open dialog. He presented the latest trends in the European feed market and FEFAC’s guidelines for responsible soy sourcing, which show farmers how sustainability standards in the EU directly affect their work in the field. “The FEFAC guidelines on sustainable soybean production offer a unique opportunity to establish sustainable soybeans as mainstream in the European food and feed sector,” said Alexander Döring. “Bayer Food Chain Partnership is key for Brazilian farmers to gain the necessary expertise in complying with the respective soybean standards and creating market connections.”
Bringing sustainability to the farmers
On May 29, the cooperatives’ representatives and Bayer experts visited the leading German feed processors Agravis in Münster and Deutsche Tiernahrung Cremer GmbH in Düsseldorf. “The knowledge exchange between us, the Brazilian cooperatives, and the German processors yielded first-hand learning about current trends in the European food and feed markets,” said Stephan Brunner. Arguably the most important lesson learned is the need to communicate good agricultural practices – such as safe use of crop protection and waste management – to the farmers working in the field.
“We always strive to bring new technology and innovations to the field, to promote sustainable crop production,” said Aguilar Mota, Operations VP of COMIGO. “During our two days here in Germany we saw in which areas we can improve further – and how Food Chain Partnership can support us in strengthening our communication, especially to the farmers and the consumers.” After all, promoting sustainable growth in agriculture – Brazil’s economic driving force – benefits everyone.
The representatives of the eight Brazilian cooperatives during their visit to Monheim.