ASUNCION – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and halting deforestation are the principal goals being pursued with sustainable livestock production in Latin America – that was the takeaway from a meeting held Tuesday in Asuncion.
In the UN-organized forum “Sustainable Livestock and Forests,” officials, ranchers and representatives of NGOs from 11 Latin American countries, including Argentina and Brazil, discussed the importance of ranching in a way that respects the environment.
Linda Maguire, the UN resident coordinator in Paraguay, said that achieving these goals must be based on talks among the different sectors involved, given that in this field there is “no good way or bad way,” but rather solutions must be reached by consensus.
Maguire said one of the subjects discussed was how to deal with the growing global demand for food supplies without damaging the environment, since that will put “greater pressure on developing countries.” She advocated “making livestock production more efficient without using more land.”
The protection of woodlands was the central theme of the discussions, given that the extensive use of land for grazing means more deforestation, which in turn increases the negative effects of climate change.
The Paraguayan minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Ariel Oviedo, told EFE that, at a local level, the government’s goal is to work jointly with organizations and livestock producers so they become the ones who protect the forests.
Oviedo noted that recently “some ranchers in Alto Paraguay province have taken on the ambitious goal of preserving 50 percent” of the woodlands on their properties.
He said the licenses issued by the Paraguayan government to the sector obliges landowners to keep unspoiled at least 25 percent of their forests.