Industrial soy production continues to expand in Argentina, pushing small farmers out of the countryside and replacing other crops and cattle. It presents a challenge in a country where 70 percent of the food consumed comes from family farms, but which also needs the foreign exchange brought in by what has been dubbed “green gold”.
The advertising department of Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta was on a roll in early 2004 when it published a map that dubbed a large area of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay the “United Republic of Soy”.
Ten years ago, Brazil yielded to agribusiness pressure and legalised the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) soy. Today it is the world’s second leading producer of GM crops, surpassed only by the United States.