BrasilAgro, whose main shareholder is Argentina-listed Cresud, is a Brazilian rural real estate firm that buys underutilized land to turn into soy, sugarcane, corn and livestock farms and ranches. The company’s main properties are in the Cerrado, and it has also acquired land in Paraguay. From 2012 to 2017, BrasilAgro deforested 21,690 ha in the Cerrado. In late 2018, BrasilAgro opted to move ahead with plans to clear land on its Chaparral farm in Correntina, a municipality in the Brazilian state of Bahia.
The company continued to expand in 2020 through its merger with Agrifirma, which gave the company two new farms in Bahia, and a farmland purchase in Piaui. With these purchases, BrasilAgro appears poised to clear as much as 12,000 hectares of native vegetation as it takes advantage of the Brazil’s growing soy export market, with China as the main destination.
BrasilAgro lacks basic industry-standard policies regarding land-use protection and conservation. Because BrasilAgro’s business is primarily focused on developing properties in the Cerrado, it is critical that BrasilAgro develops a Cerrado conservation policy and join its industry peers by signing the Cerrado Manifesto.
BrasilAgro does provide corporate transparency regarding its operations and activities on the properties it manages. Yet, because BrasilAgro lacks firmwide policies for its buying and selling of land leading to conversion and deforestation, it has been accused of land-grabbing by investigative reporters in Brazil.
BrasilAgro’s top shareholders do not have zero-deforestation policies. The investors include Cresud, Autonomy Capital Research, Charles River Administradora de Recursos Financeiros, Cape Town LLC, Real Investor Gestao de Recursos, and Kopernik Global Investors.