Identifying Incentives for Sustainable Soybean Production in Maranhão, Brazil

Matopiba, an acronym for the collective states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí, and Bahia, is home to the Brazilian Cerrado biome - the world’s most biodiverse savannah. Matopiba is also known as Brazil’s new “agricultural frontier,” as the area is being cleared rapidly for soybean and livestock production driven by favorable soil conditions and climate. As a result of this agricultural expansion, experts predict that 1.3 million hectares of natural areas of Cerrado in Matopiba will be legally deforested between 2020 and 2035, threatening various ecosystem services and the communities that depend on them. 

Sustainable land use that reduces such deforestation can be promoted through the use of economic management tools, either through voluntary private sector engagement and/or through public policy and raising funds for incentive mechanisms.

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) Brazil is working on a GIZ-funded project that seeks to design and promote economic incentives for conservation and sustainable soybean production in the state of Maranhão. CSF will facilitate stakeholders’ training in economics, conduct applied economic analysis based on field data, and provide advice to stakeholders for the development of sustainable public policies in partnership with the private sector. Specifically, CSF is (1) developing a guide with a descriptive list of the most promising available incentive mechanisms; (2) conducting a study, including a substantial consultation process with farmers, to determine soybean farmers’ willingness to engage in different types of potential incentive mechanisms; (3) holding  a series of webinars for soy producers presenting the available incentive mechanisms; and (4) facilitating a series of meetings with farmers and other stakeholders to discuss the results from the analytical study on incentive mechanisms’ economic feasibility.

Following these activities, we will communicate to the private and public sector a series of policy recommendations to improve soybean value chain sustainability, reduce deforestation in Maranhão, and help build consensus about the most promising ways to engage the soybean and livestock  sectors in more environmentally-conscious  decision making processes.

This project is funded by GIZ.

Photo Credit: Fotokostic/