The SD Soybean Council is on an educational mission in South America. On this mission, farmer-leaders from the SD Soybean Council will have the opportunity to witness soybean harvest firsthand in Brazil and Argentina. This should give us a good idea of how harvest will turn out for the South American crops. In addition to harvest, the group will leave with a better understanding of South American infrastructure.
The group traveled to Nouthern Brazil on Monday. We have been headquartered in the city of Manaus for the past couple of days. Manaus is in the Brazilian State of Amazonas. It is very hot and humid here, and the city is surrounded by jungle.
Today, the group had the opportunity to travel across the Amazonas state to the Andre Maggi Group’s port facilities located on the Amazon River. The Maggi Group is a diversified business that has operations throughout Brazil, including farming, elevators, power generation and exports.
The port we visited has the capabilities to load Panamax ships that are destined for the Atlantic Ocean. With most of their customers in Europe, only about 1/3 of the Port’s business involves biotech soybeans.
The road for a soybean shipped out of the Maggi Port begins in the Mato Grosso Region. (Our group will travel there in the next few days.) From harvest in the fields of Mato Grosso, the soybeans are trucked about 600 miles across country where they are loaded on barges. The barges travel another 700 miles by river to the Port. The Port will then offload the barges and store the soybeans until shipment.
On our visit, we also learned that sustainability is a focus for the Maggi Group and their supply chain. Their organization was the first organization in Brazil to be certified in the ISO 14000 program. The ISO 14000 program provides tools for organizations looking to identify and control their environmental impact. The Maggi Group has also signed an agreement with the government stating they will not source any soybeans from the Amazonas State. Very few soybeans are currently grown there, and they do not wish to encourage development that could lead to deforestation.
Stay tuned to the Scoop on Soybean blog for updates from South America!