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Latin America, Caribbean To Defend Beef Production at UN Food Summit

ASUNCIÓN — Latin American and Caribbean countries, especially big food producers in South America, will join forces to defend the region’s livestock production at a United Nations’ food summit this month amid concerns over the sector’s environmental impact.

Paraguay’s farming and livestock minister, Santiago Bertoni, said in a video-conference that the main focus was to counter criticism of animal farming, especially cattle farming for beef, in policies such as the European “Green Deal.”

“We have some concerns because we do not see the region adequately reflected in the discussion groups,” said Bertoni, who chairs the Southern Agricultural Council, which also includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.

“We do not want biased decisions to be made.”

The United Nations pre-summit will take place in Rome from July 26 and will lay the foundations for a summit in September within the framework of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter ahead of the United States and Australia, and an important supplier to buyers such as China. Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay are also among the world’s 10 largest beef exporters.

Outcomes from the meeting are not binding, but South American producing countries fear it will generate a narrative against the consumption of beef that could be transferred to other forums with greater decision-making power.

Bertoni said that the region’s beef producing countries do not bear “much” responsibility for the emission of greenhouse gases, though officials acknowledge that they lack all the necessary tools to measure these effects.

Ariel Martínez, an official at Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, said in the video-conference that Latin American countries were working to build a “coalition” that transcends the region with nations such as New Zealand and Australia.


Reporting by Daniela Desantis in Asuncion; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Sandra Maler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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