Mato Grosso is the largest producer of soy, beef and cotton in Latin America. Soy and beef are the biggest drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. More than half of the extensive cattle ranches in Mato Grosso are highly unproductive, while new forests are being cleared to expand production. Intensifying cattle production to free up land for responsible soy, cotton and other farming is key to stopping deforestation in Mato Grosso. Through the state government-led “Produce, Conserve and Include” strategy, IDH partners with leading producers, municipalities, NGOs and others to maintain and conserve 60 percent of native forest while doubling economic output by 2030.

The State of Mato Grosso produces nine percent of the global supply of soy, 60 percent of Brazil’s cotton and is the top producer of the country’s beef, supplying to domestic and international markets.

The state, which spans 90 million hectares across three biomes, Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal, has faced massive deforestation as a result of agricultural expansion in the last decades.

A large portion of Europe’s soy is sourced from Brazil, including from Mato Grosso. This is sourced mostly for animal feed, but also for soy meals. Soy is thus a component of a wide range of consumer goods.

Many consumers demand products that are free of deforestation. Major global retailers and other companies have committed to delinking their products from deforestation. One example of this is through the Consumer Goods Forum or CGF, which is a network of 400 consumer goods manufacturers, retailers and other stakeholders. CGF companies have committed to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.

The government of Mato Grosso also has ambitious plans to conserve the state’s forests while at the same time stimulating economic growth. To do so, it has put in place a green growth strategy, named Producir, Conservar e Incluir (“Produce, Conserve and Include” or PCI). The PCI is made up of leading producer companies, NGOs, the state government and others, including IDH, working together to prevent deforestation, restore forests and improve livelihoods and contributing to economic growth in Mato Grosso.

Through our landscape program, we collaborate both with the PCI coalition in Mato Grosso and with market players such as CGF to achieve zero net deforestation. We do this in three main ways:

  1. Governance: supporting policy development at the state level
  2. Finance: attracting international investment to profitable conservation activities
  3. Market: supply chain convening and verified sourcing areas.
The Landscape

The state of Mato Grosso covers a vast area of over 90 million hectares (more than twice the size of Germany) and consists of the Amazon rainforest, Cerrado (tropical woodland) and Pantanal (wetland) – biomes rich in biodiversity and important for sequestring carbon. Despite its small population of 3 million, the state is a leading agricultural producer supplying beef, soy, grains and cotton among others.

The growth in agricultural output is closely linked to deforestation. In the past fourty years, Mato Grosso has had one of the highest deforestation rates in Brazil and globally, though it is now in slow decline.

Massive areas of forest are cut down to make room for pastures, which currently make up almost a third of the state’s territory. More than half of these pastures are said to be degraded and low in productivity. Until now, once pastures degrade, new forest is cut down to graze cattle rather than restoring and using existing land.

Crop production takes up 8 million ha and is usually planted on former pastures. Just under 60 percent of the state is intact forest, which is currently subject to further deforestation.

Mato Grosso total area 90 million ha
Protected forests in natural reserves & indigenous territories 19 million ha
Forests on private land 37 million ha
Productive land
                  Pastureland 24 million ha
                  Crops 8 million ha
                  Other 2 million ha
Environmental deficits
                  Riparian areas (APP) 565 thousand ha
                  Legal reserve (LR) 5.8 million ha

Produce, Conserve and Include

Through our landscape program in Brazil, we support the government of Mato Grosso’s ambitious green growth strategy, PCI. The strategy was announced at the COP21 in Paris in 2015 and aims to increase agricultural production and efficiency; conserve remaining natural vegetation; and improve the socioeconomic inclusivity of smallholder farmers and traditional communities by 2030.

Summary of the PCI goals by 2030:

Produce Conserve Include
Replace 6 million ha of low-income pastures with high productive crops: Rehabilitate 2,9 million ha of APP Increase smallholder participation in domestic food market from 20 percent to 70 percent
3 million ha of grains Eliminate illigal deforestation by 2020 Promote land regularization in 70 percent of smallholder farms
2,5 million ha of livestock (intensification) Reduce deforestation in Amazon forest by 90 percent and in Cerrado by 95 percent Provide technical assistance to all smallholder farmers
0,5 million ha of planted forest Conserve 1 million ha of those areas likely to be deforested Increase access to credit
Another 6 million ha of sustainably managed natural forest

You can download the detailed PCI strategy here

Daniela Mariuzzo

Senior Landscape Convener, Brazil

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Daan Wensing

Program Director, ISLA

phone+31 (0) 6 1588 3096

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Manizha Korodiva

Communication Officer, ISLA

phone+31 (0) 30 230 5660

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