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Brazil report warns against intensive agchem use

Intensive pesticide use on Brazilian crops intended for export imposes heavy damage to the environment, an official report claims. The Brazilian applied economic research council, the Ipea, cites the contamination of soil and water from intensive pesticide use as well as other impacts from the commodities market, including reduced land for food production and dislocation of rural populations. Lead researcher Jorge Hargrave complains that there is a tradition of viewing environmental questions as impeding development. He calls for wider use of organic crop farming. “Soybean farming could continue partly through conventional, partly organic [production],” he says. “Such a system could maintain high production levels on a sustainable basis; it’s just a matter of regulation.” The Ipea is a government body linked to the President’s office.

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