Sir, – Your articles 'Brazil beef warning after Defra signs trade understanding’ and 'British cash bankrolling Brazilian beef?' call for important clarification.

The former says that Brazil is an 'enthusiastic user of growth-promoting and production-boosting hormones on its livestock'. This is simply incorrect. Hormones are not authorised on Brazilian livestock, be it for domestic consumption or exports. A stringent government’s surveillance programme is in place to ensure implementation.

As for the recently established UK-Brazil Joint Agricultural Committee (JAC), mentioned in the two pieces, it is first and foremost a forum for the exchange of experience on agricultural production and regulations. It is expected to contribute, where appropriate, to the removal of unnecessary trade barriers.

Last year, Brazil opened its markets for British exports of fish and fish products, including Scottish salmon, and discussions are now underway for the recognition of Scottish whisky as a geographical indication.

But there is much more we can do in the JAC to enhance our trade in a balanced manner, whilst upholding the high standards that our consumers deserve and demand.

Sustainable agricultural practices will also be on the JAC’s agenda. The history of Brazilian agriculture is that of a science-intensive sustainable endeavour. Across four decades, consistent investments in technology have made it possible for our farmers to produce more with relatively less land, therefore protecting the environment.

On top of that, Brazil’s environmental legislation is widely recognised as one of the most advanced in the world. In the Amazon, as in any biome in Brazil, producers are legally required to preserve vast portions of their property without any compensation.

In fact, if they fail to comply, they become ineligible for funding from banks and other financial institutions.

On that front, of course, enforcement challenges remain – which is only too natural in a country as large as Brazil. But they are tackled with the utmost sense of seriousness and urgency by the relevant authorities, at the federal as well as at state levels.

This is all part of the experience we will be sharing in the JAC also with our Scottish friends, from whom, no doubt, we will have a great deal to learn ourselves.

To invest in Brazilian agriculture is to invest in sustainability. To import produce from Brazil is to import innovation. Brazilian farmers, just like Scottish farmers, have good reasons to be proud of what they have accomplished.

Fred Arruda

Ambassador of Brazil to the UK.