Blairo Maggi is a powerful man in Brazil. He owns a company called Grupo Andre Maggi that runs vast soybean plantations in the state of Matto Grasso, which straddles the Amazon rainforest and what the Nature Conservancy calls “the world’s most biologically rich savanna.” The New York Times has called Maggi “the largest soybean grower in the world … with 400,000 acres of his own under production.”

Maggi works closely with the world’s biggest soybean processors: Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill. He has received support from the World Bank for his projects. To top it all off, he’s been the governor of Matto Grasso since 2002.

So it was significant when he expressed the following opinion about how to “solve” the growing food crisis:

“With the worsening of the global food crisis, the time is coming when it will be inevitable to discuss whether we preserve the environment or produce more food. There is no way to produce more food without occupying more land and taking down more trees,” he declared, speaking specifically of the rainforest.

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Sure, we could blot out more chunks of the “world’s lungs,” our biggest and most important carbon sponge. On the other hand, we could also stop converting food crops to biofuel.

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