The trouble with soya beans
As a vegetarian I am keen on soya beans. Source of tofu, soy sauce, soya milk, and containing high-quality protein, where would I be without them? If many in the world are short of food then we should go further down the food chain and eat more beans and lentils. (I did try pressure-cooking soya beans and eating them but I do not recommend the taste.)
Paraguay's Painful Harvest tonight on Channel Four, in the Unreported World series, was a report about the scale of soya bean growing there. It described the conflict between local people who do not have access to the land and the large foreign companies that run the soya bean business. Also it was about the alleged drastic health effects from pesticides. Most of the beans are not for the local people and not even for people anywhere to eat. They are used to feed livestock such as cattle.
A report on Upside Down World looks at creating sustainable agriculture in Paraguay and also describes the downside of the emphasis on soya beans.
Also on Upside Down World you can read about a protest in the capital of Paraguay, recently brought to a close after negotiations with President Fernando Lugo. Land distribution is a big issue in Latin America and Paraguay has the most unequal situation. 1% of the population own 77% of the arable land.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.