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Chongquing Soybean Growing and Manufacturing in Bahia, Brazil


Chongqing Grain Group is one of Chinas largest state-owned grain corporations. In accordance to China's 'Strategic Plan for Agricultural ‘Going Out'', Choingqing Group announced in April 2010 plans for a US$300-million soybean project in Bahia, Brazil, that would include infrastructure construction and control over 100,000 ha of land, with potential to expand to 200,000 ha. Brazilian authorities publicly denied that the deal involved the transfer of lands, but in an interview with state TV channel CCTV in February 2011, Huang Qifan, the mayor of Chongqing, reiterated that the company had been allocated the land and that the project would be managed by a joint venture company 70% owned by Chongqing Grain and 30% by Brazilian investors, and partnerships with local producers. Political pressure from international NGOs and local social movements steered the project away from farms and towards soy processing plants supplied by rented lands.

The company invested US$879 million in the project, with much of this being provided by the Development Bank of China. This is the biggest overseas investment made by a Chinese agricultural enterprise, and will form China's largest overseas production source for cooking oil.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Chongquing Soybean Growing and Manufacturing in Bahia, Brazil
State or province:Bahia
(municipality or city/town)Barreiras
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Land acquisition conflicts
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The facility expects to harvest 10 million tons of soybeans from 200,000 ha, process on-site, and export 1.5 million tons of cooking oil each year. In September 2011 the company imported its’ first shipment at .26 million tones. It could generate up to 500 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect.

Project area:200
Level of Investment:878,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:Chongqing Grain Group from China
Relevant government actors:Development Bank of China, Attorney General of Brazil, National Development and Reform Commission
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST),

Conflict and Mobilization

Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Development of alternatives:Revision of legislation, tightening of restrictions on foreign land investors.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Following multiple NGO petitions and official letters, in August 2010 Brazil’s attorney General called for more strict limitations on foreign acquisition of land, but proposals are stuck in congressional committees and have not been put to practice.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Recent laws instituted in 2010 have limited direct foreign purchases of land

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Concentration and foreign ownership of land in Brazil in the context of global land grabbing, John Wilkinsona, Bastiaan Reydonb & Alberto Di Sabbatoc, Canadian Journal of Development Studies/Revue canadienne détudes du développement. Volume 33, Issue 4, 2

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

'Chinese agriculture goes global'

'CGG is setting up soybean base in Brazil' China Daily

'China's Interest in Farmland Makes Brazil Uneasy', NY Times, 2011

'Chongqing Grain seeks state firms to back $2.47 bln Brazil soybean facility'

Other comments:Although Chongqing does not own the 200,000 ha directly, thereby placating ‘land grabbing’ claims, they purchase all of the soybeans planted. Upcoming legislation changes could impact this conflict. Information on the company is elusive.

Meta information

Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update08/04/2014