A profit of over 400%. That’s what BrasilAgro got from one of its early business ventures. The company bought the Cremaq farm in 2006, paying 42 million reais ($8 million) for a 32,700-hectare (80,800-acre) farm in the state of Piauí, in Brazil’s northeast. It then spent another 22.6 million reais ($43 million) on starting soy cultivation to encourage potential buyers. The farm was split in two and sold between 2013 and 2015 for a combined 307.4 million reais ($58.4 million). But the consequence of this profiteering was deforestation, loss of groundwater, and the expulsion of local communities in the Cerrado, one of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspots. “I define it as a company that transforms native or underused lands into financial assets,” says Rodrigo Cavalcanti do Nascimento, a geography Ph.D. who investigated BrasilAgro for his thesis. In May, Swiss bank UBS acted as a coordinator in a financial operation that raised 240 million reais ($45.5 million) for the company. BrasilAgro is just one piece of UBS’s larger strategy to profit from Brazilian agribusiness. To achieve its goal, it partnered with Banco do Brasil, the world’s largest agribusiness financier, to create a joint venture: UBS BB Investment Bank. BrasilAgro’s agricultural land. The consequences of BrasilAgro’s profiteering include deforestation, loss of groundwater, and the expulsion of local communities in the highly biodiverse Cerrado. Image by BrasilAgro via Facebook. Clearing forests and evicting communities On its website, BrasilAgro describes itself as “one of the largest Brazilian companies in [terms of] the amount…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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