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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

NameChongquing Soybean Growing and Manufacturing in Bahia, Brazil
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 DetailsThe 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 (in hectares)200
Level of Investment (in USD)878,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesChongqing Grain Group from China
Relevant government actorsDevelopment Bank of China, Attorney General of Brazil, National Development and Reform Commission
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersMovimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST),

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation


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-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Development of AlternativesRevision of legislation, tightening of restrictions on foreign land investors.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.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


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


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


'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 CommentsAlthough 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

ContributorAliza Tuttle
Last update08/04/2014