De Ontbossingsmythe: Waarom de bio-industrie, niet soja, de reden is voor ontbossing

The Deforestation Myth: Why Factory Farming, Not Soy, Is the Reason for Deforestation

Sep 19, 2023Kaj de Jager
The Deforestation Myth, why factory farming, not soy, is the reason for deforestation.

It is often said that soy is the reason for deforestation, especially in South America. This story is not entirely true. Indeed, a lot of jungle is being cut down to create soy plantations, but this is not because we have all started drinking so much soy milk.

Soybean production has increased by more than 1250% in 60 years, while the world population increased by "only" 160%. We didn't all eat 7.5 times more tempeh than in 1961.

So what causes this?

A soybean produces two products, oil (20%) and meal (80%). The oil is used in the food industry for ultra-processed foods and in some countries as a cooking oil. 98% of the flour is used as animal feed.
It is often claimed that soy is produced for oil and that the meal for animal feed is a residual product.
This is a myth, for every euro of soy beans, 66 cents are earned from the flour.

Soy oil is also one of the cheapest oils and flour is one of the most expensive.
So there is more incentive for farmers to produce flour. Oil, not flour, is the residual product.

As a result, the majority of soybeans are processed into animal feed, only 7% is eaten directly in the form of tofu, soy milk, etc.

The increase in production is due to the demand for animal feed and partly vegetable oils. So we don't eat more soy, but more animals!

Livestock animals are very inefficient. If you were to replace one kilo of pork with one kilo of products made from soy, you would have to produce ~5 kilos fewer soybeans.


Deforestation is because we eat meat from factory farms and not because we started eating more soy. If you replace meat with products made from soy (or other plant-based alternatives), soy production decreases and therefore deforestation.

You can also look for meat that has not been fed concentrate, but residual flows or for animals that are responsibly collected from the wild.


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