Photo Soybean harvet in Brazi.l By Roosevelt Pinheiro/ABr wikimedia (CC3.0)

Brazil is one of the world’s largest soy producers with approximately 28 per cent of global production. The source and amount of supply to the major European soy importers from Brazil varies between states. This paper uses sub-national production and trade data to link national-level consumption activities to sub-national production and land use. Photo: Pinheiro/ABr on wikimedia [CC BY 3.0]

With increasingly complex and globalised supply chains, agricultural production and related impacts are often far removed from the point of final demand and consequently difficult to trace. However, accurately linking consumption to production is essential to understand drivers and key actors, and to facilitate actionable adaptation strategies to minimise negative impacts and guarantee food security.

This study introduces SEI’s hybridised multiregional input-output (MRIO) model, IOTA. IOTA utilises subnational and national-level production, trade and environmental data; national-scale commodity-use data; and a global economic MRIO to link sub-national production and associated impacts to regional final consumption.

A case study applies the model to Brazilian soy production and related land use for consumption in the European Union. The distribution of production between Brazilian states to meet EU demand differs significantly from that of total production in the country, and each individual EU member state has its own sourcing patterns. Sourcing also varies considerably within a country’s consumption profile, depending on the sector purchasing the soy.

The linking of consumption to subnational production and trade allows for more accurate and meaningful connections to be made between consumer behaviour and the associated impacts and risks. This enhanced understanding of consumption-driven impacts in turn informs, and allows for, more targeted and effective policy interventions to tackle the pressures and risks associated with agricultural commodity production for a global market.