ASUNCIÓN, July 19 (Reuters) – Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially large food producers in South America, will join forces to defend the region’s animal production at a United Nations summit on food this month, due to concerns over the sector’s environmental impact.
Paraguayan Agriculture and Livestock Minister Santiago Bertoni told a video conference that the main objective was to counter criticism of livestock, especially beef farming, in policies such as the European “Green Deal”.
“We have some concerns because we don’t see the region properly reflected in the focus groups,” said Bertoni, who chairs the Southern Agricultural Council, which also includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.
“We don’t want biased decisions made.”
The United Nations pre-summit will be held in Rome from July 26 and will lay the groundwork for a summit in September as part of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter ahead of the United States and Australia, and a major supplier to buyers like China. Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay are also among the top 10 beef exporters in the world.
The results of the meeting are not binding, but producing countries in South America fear that this will generate a discourse against beef consumption that could be transferred to other forums with greater decision-making power.
Bertoni said beef-producing countries in the region do not bear “much” responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions, although officials admit they do not have all the tools to measure these effects. .
Ariel Martínez, an official with Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, told the video conference that Latin American countries are striving to build a “coalition” that transcends the region with countries like New Zealand and the Australia.
Reporting by Daniela Desantis in Asuncion; Editing Adam Jourdan and Sandra Maler
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.