Bunge to step up monitoring of soy suppliers in Brazil's Cerrado biome

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, March 3 (Reuters) - The Brazilian unit of Bunge Ltd is launching an effort to make sure that soybean growers in the Cerrado area who indirectly supply the company are producing their crops in an environmentally responsible way, according to a statement on Wednesday.

The Cerrado biome is a vast tropical savanna or biodiversity hot spot where the bulk of Brazil's oilseeds are planted.

The company said the move involves guiding grain resellers to implement "chain verification systems," which include the use of satellite imaging to track the origin of the grains.

"Resellers will be able to adopt independent imaging services or use Bunge's geospatial monitoring structure, free of charge," the statement said.

Bunge, which originates about 25 million tonnes of soy, corn and wheat in Brazil annually, has committed to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain by 2025.

The company says it already tracks 100% of direct soy purchases in Brazil, which is the world's largest soybean producer and exporter. The initiative aims to boost tracking of indirect volumes to that same level from 30% now.

Bunge's initiative is part of a wider industry push to produce food in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, as large-scale farming in the Cerrado has turned Brazil into an agricultural powerhouse.

In that region alone, Bunge says it already monitors more than 8,000 properties, spanning 11.6 million hectares of land (28.6 million acres), which represents 96% of the volume of its direct soy purchases in the region. (Reporting by Ana Mano and Roberto Samora in Sao Paulo Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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