Brazil – China relations through the lens of the soy economy
Lecture by John Wilkinson (Rio de Janeiro). Uni Jena, Carl-Zeiß-Str. 3, SR 274
Organized jointly by the Research Colloquium Landnahme, Sozialstruktur und Politik (Prof. Klaus Dörre) and the BMBF Junior Research Group Bioeconomy & Inequalities at the Institut of Sociology at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.
In light of China’s growing demand, trade and investment in soy has become an important driver of Brazil-China relations. Soybeans are “flex-crops”, which means that they can be used in the production of food, as feedstock in the production of meat products, as industrial material, or in the production of biodiesel. At present, more than half of China’s soy imports come from Brazil while 60 percent of Brazilian soy is exported to China. The intensification of soy production and consumption has a number of problematic implications in social, economic and ecological terms. Taking the case of soy as a point of departure, the lecture will explore the ways in which the Brazil-China axis is reshaping global patterns of trade and investment in large-scale agriculture. What makes soy such a coveted agricultural commodity? How does China’s soy demand affect agricultural policies and farming practices in Brazil? What does agricultural trade and investment in the soy sector mean for the constitution of structural inequalities across the South? Based on extensive research on the topic, John Wilkinson will address these questions and open the floor for discussion on one of the most pressing issues regarding the Brazil-China relationship facing the new century.
John Wilkinson is Associate Professor at the Graduate Center for Development, Agriculture and Society (CPDA) at the Federal Rural University in Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ). His research focuses on economic sociology and the world agrifood system. He has an extensive record of internationally recognized publications in these fields.