Soy fields stretch as far as the eye can see in South America’s fertile plains, boosted by a jump in demand from China and Europe.
With more than 82 million tonnes harvested this year, Brazil is jostling for first place as a producer with the United States, hit by a drought, according to US Department of Agriculture figures.
“Soy brings in the money. It has the nutritional value of meat but it’s vegetarian. And it’s the cheapest protein in the world to produce by mass,” explained soy expert Marc-Henry Andre.
“Up until now, the supply has increased sharply. But the demand has grown even more, which explains why the price for a tonne of soy exceeded $100 in the early 2000s and is now above $500,” said Argentine economist Luciano Cohan.
China imports soy beans at the rate of 60 million tonnes for 2012-2013 and an expected 70 million for 2013-2014.
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