Soybean Cultivation in Argentina

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Soy Cultivation in Argentina has rapidly displaced the cultivation of other crops, pasture-based cattle ranching, and untouched virgin forests and grasslands. Most of the soy grown is GE soy. Much of it is then exported to China and Europe. For more information, see the article on Soy Cultivation in South America.

In 2008, five of the world's top 10 soybean producers were in South America: Brazil (2), Argentina (3), Paraguay (6), Bolivia (8), and Uruguay (9).[1]

Expansion of Soybean Cultivation

Soybean cultivation grew in Argentina from almost zero in the 1970's to half of Argentina's cropland, an estimated 16.6 million hectares by 2008.[2] Soy is the main export of Argentina, amounting to one-third of the country's total exports.[3]

According to one article:[4]

The area sown with soybeans grew by 126 percent over the space of a decade, and according to non-governmental organisations, this is not only to the detriment of other crops and activities. The advance of soy also displaces native forests with their wealth of biodiversity, and takes over land used for family agriculture and belonging to indigenous peoples.
"In the last nine years, according to official figures, 2.5 million hectares of native forests have been lost, especially in the north of the country, and this is largely due to deforestation to plant soy, which is elbowing out all other activities," Hernán Giardini of Greenpeace Argentina told IPS.


All data in this section comes from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's FAOSTAT database.[5] Since at least 1990, Argentina has been the world's third largest soybean exporter. In 2008, exported 25% of its soybeans unprocessed.

Argentina tends to export more soybeans in their processed forms (cake and oil) than it does unprocessed soybeans. Continuing with the example of 2008, Argentina imported 2,891,770 tonnes of soybeans, presumably from nearby countries that lacked processing capacity. That year, Argentina's top export was soybean cake (23,319,700 tonnes) and its fifth largest export was soybean oil (4,944,190 tonnes). Assuming that each crushed bean yields 80% cake and 18.3% oil, Argentina exported soybean cake and oil equivalent to about 60 percent of its crop that year.

Year: Soybean exports

  • 1980: 2,699,860 tonnes
  • 1990: 3,214,440 tonnes
  • 1995: 2,549,840 tonnes
  • 2000: 4,122,890 tonnes
  • 2001: 7,364,890 tonnes
  • 2002: 6,163,390 tonnes
  • 2003: 8,709,580 tonnes
  • 2004: 6,519,810 tonnes
  • 2005: 9,962,110 tonnes
  • 2006: 7,872,860 tonnes
  • 2007: 11,842,500 tonnes
  • 2008: 11,733,300 tonnes

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. FAOSTAT, Accessed March 12, 2011.
  2. Marcela Valente, "Soy - High Profits Now, Hell to Pay Later, IPS News, July 29, 2008, Accessed March 12, 2011.
  3. Javier Souza Casadinho, "Expansión de la soja en el Cono sur" ("Expansion of Soy in the Southern Cone"), Centro de estudios sobre tecnologías apropiadas de la Argentina Red de Acción en plaguicidas de América Latina (Center for the Study of Appropriate Technologies of Argentina, Pesticide Action Network Latin America)
  4. Marcela Valente, "Soy - High Profits Now, Hell to Pay Later, IPS News, July 29, 2008, Accessed March 12, 2011.
  5. FAOSTAT, Accessed March 12, 2011.

External resources

External articles