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Senate bill ignores agroecological zoning of sugarcane

The Senate Bill (PLS) 626/2011 has returned to the agenda and should be voted on in the Senate floor in next weeks.

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture reaffirms its position paper against this Bill, according to the position already published on September 11, 2017 (available below).

Faced with the risks mentioned in this position paper, the Brazilian Coalition asks the Senators to vote for the rejection of PLS 626/2011.

Read the position paper:

Senate bill ignores agroecological zoning of sugarcane

Note of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture on Senate Bill 626/2011:

São Paulo, September 11, 2017 – Senate Bill 626/2011, sponsored by Senator Flexa Ribeiro (PSDB-PA), which is being processed by the Federal Senate, aims to authorize sugarcane cultivation in the Legal Amazon, in already degraded forest areas and in stretches of savannas and general fields of the states that make up the region.

This bill contradicts the efforts made by the federal government, the productive sector and society towards the sustainable production of sugarcane in the country. In 2009, the Brazilian government approved Decree 6961, which provides for Agroecological Zoning and determines areas and rules for the licensing of new plants, excluding expansions on sensitive biomes such as the Amazon and Pantanal, as well as areas of native vegetation. Bill 626/2011, proposing a change in the zoning guidelines, could cause a strong pressure for deforestation in the Amazon biome.

Brazilian biofuels and sugar are not associated with this deforestation. Senate Bill 626/2011 can tarnish this reputation and jeopardize the markets already conquered and the value of Brazilian products. Brazil needs to focus on promoting increased production of bioenergy and biofuels in the current unused areas, along with environmental preservation.

The demand for economic development in the Amazon regions is legitimate. However, the Coalition believes that the creation of quality jobs can only be achieved through the low-carbon economy. Currently, sugarcane cultivation occupies about 10 million hectares. Zoning, by excluding 92.5% of the Brazilian territory as unfit for sugarcane cultivation, still allows its expansion in 64.7 million hectares, of which 19.3 million hectares are areas of high productive potential.

Therefore, we understand that, in protecting sensitive biomes, zoning signals areas big enough to enable agribusiness to expand and intensify its production while ensuring the preservation of protected areas. These areas are critical to provide ecosystem services, such as maintaining temperature and rainfall regimes.

Therefore, the Brazil Coalition defends the maintenance of the sugarcane Agroecological Zoning terms and demands that Senators members of the next Commissions read Senate Bill 626/2011 (Commissions for Agriculture and Agrarian Reform and Environment, Consumer Protection and Inspection and Control, with a final decision) to consider the risks mentioned above and vote for their rejection. The sugarcane industry plays an important role in meeting the Brazilian climate target and is able to increase its participation in the national energy matrix by 18% without plowing under the Amazon.

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