Bezos Earth Fund Is Interested in Livestock Farming in Brazil

“What happens with Brazilian cattle production has global impacts. We are interested in supporting Brazil to produce beef and dairy sustainably…”

Andy Jarvis is the director for the Future of Food of Bezos Earth Fund, with a bachelor of science in geography and a Ph.D. by the King’s College London, former associate director of the Alliance of Biodiversity International.

AgriBrasilis – Why is the Bezos Earth Fund interested in Brazilian cattle farming?

Andy Jarvis – Brazil has the biggest herd on the planet, and it is also the most biodiverse country on the planet. What happens with Brazilian cattle production has global impacts. We are interested in supporting Brazil to produce beef and dairy sustainably — free from illegal deforestation and low in emissions.

AgriBrasilis – How much will be invested and how?

Andy Jarvis – To date, we have announced a total of US$ 66 million for work in Brazil, which includes grants to support the creation and management of protected areas and indigenous territories, early detection and response to forest fires, supporting economic development and jobs based on the forest, building capacity for carbon markets, and sustainable cattle production including the topic of traceability in the State of Pará. We generally grant to not-for-profit organizations, and our portfolio continues to evolve.

AgriBrasilis – Is there a lot of resistance from farmers in adopting more sustainable methods?

Andy Jarvis – All farmers I have met consider themselves good stewards and want to manage their farm in a way which provides them livelihoods whilst protecting their most precious asset: the land. But the incentives need to be right for farmers – they should be receiving the support and the benefits of shifting towards more sustainable practices. One reason why we are particularly interested in Brazil is because the government has  strongly signaled their commitment. It makes complete sense – Brazil is highly competitive on the global market, and the country has much to gain in the drive towards a more sustainable food system. It can be a global leader.

“Cattle traceability is the best practice for the beef sector today. It is a way of managing animal health”

AgriBrasilis – Why is beef cattle traceability important in this context?

Andy Jarvis – Cattle traceability is the best practice for the beef sector today. It is a way of managing animal health more holistically, better managing supply chains, and a means by which farmers can be rewarded through the value chain for improved production practices. In the long run, traceability systems will be a pillar of competitivity in an increasingly crowded market.

Whilst incentivizing good practices, traceability can also tackle bad practices. Brazil has world leading levels of illegal deforestation,  and the beef supply chain is a significant driver of that. When a consumer buys a “picanha” or a steak, they should have the assurance that there is no illegal activity behind its production. Cattle traceability is also a means to ensure that products that reach the market have not been produced illegally and are free of deforestation.

AgriBrasilis – What are the direct benefits for livestock farmers if they adopt more sustainable practices? Is it possible to generate additional income by participating in the carbon market?

Andy Jarvis – Sustainability should be top of mind for all farmers as they are the first benefactor. Sustainability implies good management of land and water resources in a way which ensures long-term productive capacity. In addition to this, the market for sustainable products is growing both within and outside of Brazil, be it through consumer preference or through corporate responsibility. Sustainable practices give a competitive edge and provide for farmers more market opportunities.

Furthermore, as your question alludes to, a well-managed sustainable farm can also sequester carbon and protect forests, and as a result tap into carbon market opportunities.  Our grants are also looking at finding means by which ranchers who adopt traceability and protect forests can access additional income from carbon markets.

AgriBrasilis – What is the purpose of the Bezos Center for Sustainable Proteins and when will it be inaugurated?

Andy Jarvis – Whilst supporting the livestock sector to reduce its emissions and reduce its negative impacts in nature, we are also looking at the topic of alternative proteins. With growing demand for animal-sourced foods, we see opportunities for plant-based alternatives to complement animal-sourced products on the market in order to address the climate and nature crises. Our Bezos Centers for Sustainable Protein will work to improve these products to meet price and taste parity with conventional meats. More details will be announced shortly.

AgriBrasilis – What is the market size for alternative proteins in Brazil?

Andy Jarvis – It is small, but it’s growing significantly. In 2023, the market for plant-based meat products was US$ 226 million, showing a 38% growth from 2022 to 2023. We expect alternative proteins to gain market share significantly over the coming decade, as the products get better and the price becomes more and more accessible to the consumers. We see this as a complement to animal-sourced products – not a replacement – and Brazil has much to gain from a growing global industry focused on it.

Plant-based and fermented alternative protein products are produced by farmers, and Brazil is the biggest producer of the number 1 ingredient in most plant-based meats – soybean. For Brazil, embracing alternative proteins could provide significant economic growth.



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