Global Soy Commodity Chain: from Genetic Modification, to Amazon Rainforest Destruction, to Safe Crayons, and Sustainable Rubber.
May 27, 2013
Global Soy Bean Production and the Agribusiness model of Genetic Modification of the Soy Plant is the most influential and Controversial Factor of Soy’s Commodity Chain. The United States and Archer Daniels Midland Company are the top producers of soy in the world. Fifty seven percent of the world’s soy is produced in the US. Genetically modified Monsanto soy plants have made this industry highly profitable by yielding large quantities of this commodity to markets throughout the world. Uses for soy; other than the traditional Chinese Buddhist vegetarian monk derived products like tempeh, tofu, and soymilk; are derived by ADM to utilize protein content. Soy products such as “ATP” are added to General Mills products to increase protein content in foods. Soy has also been used as a sustainable alternative resource for non-food products like Crayons (Crayola), car foam, and rubber tires (Ford).
Soy and soy products are consumed in large quantities in Asia, predominately China where the soy plant originated; however production in this region is only 5% globally today. Soy demand has increased in this region but production has decreased substantially. This creates a large import market for soy in Asia. ADM and the US contribute to this market, in 2011 the US exported a third of total soy production for the year to China. Soy is also imported to China from Brazil constituting about 30% of their total soy crop product. Brazil is the second largest producer of soy in the world.
Brazil’s soy production mirrors the US and ADM’s agribusiness production model. Genetically modified plants are used and pesticide protected. The soy industry has been profitable helping to strengthen Brazil’s economy. However, soy production in Brazil has been the source of contention...
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