Bunge launches programme to monitor soybean crops in Brazil

The programme will support grain dealers and producers as they adapt to market demands, through the use of monitoring systems, such as satellite and farm-scale images.

Bunge, an American agribusiness and food company, has launched an initiative to share best practices with grain dealers about traceability and monitoring of soybean crops linked to its indirect supply chain in the Cerrado region, one of the high-risk areas of deforestation in Brazil. Dubbed Bunge Sustainable Partnership, the programme will help partners implement supply chain verification systems, including satellite and farm-scale images.

The initiative is part of Bunge’s global non-deforestation policy with a public and voluntary commitment to reaching deforestation-free value chains worldwide by 2025.

Bunge already has a traceability network to the farm for its direct purchases and in the Brazilian Cerrado region alone, the company monitors more than 8,000 farms, reaching a total of 11.6 million hectares, which accounts for 96% of the soybeans purchased directly in this region. With the engagement of grain dealers through the Bunge Sustainable Partnership, the company expects to reach 100% of traceability and monitoring of its indirect purchases in the next four years. The company revealed that it is currently tracing and monitoring approximately 30% of its indirect purchases.

Rob Coviello, chief sustainability officer and government affairs at Bunge, commented: “This initiative is a way for Bunge to share with its supply chain the best practices we use to build value chains that are traceable and verifiable. We value our partnership with dealers and producers to make our supply chains increasingly productive and sustainable, and we believe that solutions at-scale and with long-term impacts are only possible when all partners in the value chain, from farmers to customers, are involved and engaged.”

The pilot programme is being carried out in partnership with Agrícola Alvorada, and data from the properties the dealer purchase soybeans from have already been included in Bunge’s satellite monitoring cycle for this year.

Bunge uses data from Brazil’s Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) to obtain information about the dimensions of the properties and their borders in Brazil. This enables the observation of land-use changes more accurately on each of the monitored properties. This new offering will also allow grain dealers to use the same model to monitor their suppliers.

Roberto Marcon, origination director for Bunge, added: “Grain dealers play an important role in our industry by giving market access to small- and medium-sized farmers. By helping them implement traceability and monitoring systems and tools, we are doing our part to contribute to the entire sector.”

Under its global non-deforestation commitment, Bunge also takes several actions to encourage sustainable agriculture, from financing lines to mapping areas already open and suitable for soybean expansion. The most recent example is the AgroApp Bunge, an app that works as a hub of information and tools to support sustainable production, to address sustainability-related issues, and to offer overall support to farmers. Through this communication channel, farmers have easy access via mobile devices to CAR data on their properties, which contributes to the property’s overall environmental and biodiversity management.