Most soya comes from the Americas and nearly half from just two countries, Brazil and Argentina. Growth of the soya industry has been meteoric – production in Brazil has quadrupled in just 20 years. The UK imports huge quantities of soya and globally some 90% of soya is used to feed animals, including cows, pigs and chickens.
This rapid growth has come at a huge cost. Vast areas of forest and natural habitats have been destroyed, replaced with mile upon mile of soya fields. Converting forests and grasslands into monocrop farmland for soya releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which cause climate change. Trees are very good at absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, so fewer trees means more carbon stays in the atmosphere.
Huge tracts of the forests in South America have been lost at the hands of the expanding soya industry. People protecting the forest, including Indigenous Peoples and local activists, have been intimidated, attacked and even killed.