Farming is one of the most important activities for the Brazilian economy, both for domestic supply as for export. Nonetheless, farming is associated with various social and environmental problems. Excessive deforestation and the low productivity of some activities make the farming sector the main contributor to emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the country (reaching approximately 62% of the national total).
In the Amazon, deforestation still reaches about 500-600 thousand hectares per year, involving illegal occupation of conservation units and indigenous lands, as well as land conflicts. Farming has been the target of a lot of criticism because it is the main responsible for deforestation (75% of deforested areas in the region between 1995 and 2004 were converted into pasture). It also has the more misused areas, with about 12 million hectares of dirty pastures; and it also has more cases of labor similar to slavery.
Imazon has conducted studies on livestock since the 1990s, documenting the environmental impact of farming by monitoring deforestation, biomass burning and emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition, the institute and its partners, including producers and researchers, evaluate and disseminate the best livestock practices in the State of Pará. For example, Imazon estimated that it would be possible to supply the increasing demand for meat projected by 2022, through increasing the productivity of only 24% of pastures with agro-economic potential for intensification already in existence in 2007. This way, without clearing forest, it would possible to increase the value of agricultural production by 2022 in the Amazon to approximately R$4 billion – an increase of 16% of the value of the farming production in 2010. Imazon also has evaluated and assisted in the implementation of agreement of frigorific that committed to the Federal Public Ministry to buy just cattle from legal origin.