BRAZIL-FARMING/ (UPDATE 1):UPDATE 1-Brazil finalizing rule to pay farmers to preserve land
By Ana Mano
SAO PAULO, June 1 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government is finalizing legislation that will allow farmers to get paid to preserve undeveloped rainforests and savannah, Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias said during an online event on Tuesday.
Dias said the new rules would allow farmers to get paid if they decide not to clear land for agriculture or to raise livestock, even as in some regions of Brazil they would be legally permitted to.
Brazil has been under increasing international pressure to curb deforestation, which has spiked in recent years amid lax enforcement under the right wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro.
The minister, who did not provide a timeline for enacting such a bill, said Brazil has a strict forestry code that allows farmers to clear portions of their land depending on the region where they operate.
In some places, it remains possible to chop down trees to create space for livestock or to grow crops, but the new rules would provide incentives for farmers not to do so.
"This is a business that will grow a lot in Brazil over the coming years," Dias said. "It could become the second or even the main business for the Brazilian farmer and rancher."
Once the new regulatory framework is in place, each farmer would be able to survey their property and make the best choice, she said.
"They will opt for the best deal, whether it is to plant soy or raise cattle, or to preserve the forest."
(Reporting by Ana Mano; editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)