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Oil palm in Brazil: lessons from policies and agroforestry innovation

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Geological similarity of Latin America and Africa is based on a common history before the mid-Atlantic rift caused the two continents to drift apart. The Amazon basin climate is comparable to that of the W and C African coastal zone, with similarities in vegetation types, potential for tropical commodity production and agroforestry systems. These favourable conditions on both sides of the Atlantic gave rise to parallel commodity development processes despite marked disparities between the two regions with regard to governance, policies and land use dynamics. While some regions of Brazil have reached high development indices, others such as the Amazon basin still face similar social and environmental challenges as found in tropical African countries, including high rates of deforestation, prevalence of slash-and-burn farming among smallholders, illegal logging, mining and the rapid expansion of large-scale monocrop commodity production (Duguma et al 2021). These similarities and differences allow for rich learning on developing pathways for more inclusive value chains and environmentally friendly production systems including commodities.

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