The world food crisis has actually weakened the hand of environmentalists in Brazilian politics who are trying to conserve the untouched forests as a biodiversity treasure trove.
Mato Grosso’s governor, Blairo Maggi, responded to the figures by defending deforestation as necessary to feed the world.
‘You can’t grow more food unless you put more land into production by chopping down trees,’ declared Maggi, who is nicknamed the ‘soya king’ in Brazil. The businessman is the world’s biggest soybean exporter.
Paulo Adario, who heads the environmentalist group Greenpeace’s operations in the Amazon Basin, said: ‘Agri-business is trying to set up the world food crisis as an excuse to step up their attacks on the rainforest.’
The green movement is particularly worried by the expansion of soya farming.