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‘Idiotic’: Brazil hits back at President Macron soya comment

Mr Macron said that Brazilian soya was from the ‘destroyed forest’ of Brazil, but Brazilian leaders have denounced the comment as an ‘idiotic political game’

15 January 2021
By Hannah Thompson

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of making “idiotic” comments about the Amazon rainforest after Mr Macron called for more European soya production.

This week, President Macron said that Europe should increase its soya production, to be “more coherent with our ecological ambitions”, in reference to soya production in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

Soya production in the Latin American country is among the practices to have been strongly criticised for causing major deforestation of the rainforest under Mr Bolsonaro’s controversial administration.

In a video posted on Twitter, Mr Macron said: “When we import soya that is made forcibly on the destroyed forest of Brazil, we are not coherent with our ecological aims.”

Mr Macron said that Europe’s dependence on Brazilian soya was “causing the deforestation of the Amazon”, prompting Mr Bolsonaro to call the comments “idiotic”.

He said, sarcastically: “For the love of God, Mr Macron, do not buy Brazilian soya, and in that way you will not deforest the Amazon. Buy soya in France.

“Stop making idiotic comments, Macron. You do not [even] know your own country, but you never stop giving your opinion on Brazil.”

Brazilian Vice-President Hamilton Mourao also replied to Mr Macron’s comment, saying: “Mr Macron knows nothing about soya production in Brazil. Our soya production is made in the Cerrado [region in the south of the Amazon] or in the south of the country.

“Agricultural production in the Amazon is minimal. Mr Macron has conveyed the protectionist interests of French farmers, nothing more. It is part of a political game.”

Mr Macron and Mr Bolsonaro have often had disagreements over ecological issues; in 2019, the Brazilian president criticised Mr Macron for his comments on forest fires in the Amazon.

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