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Brazil’s environment minister Izabella Teixeira has said Thursday’s figures depict “a crime”, saying the rate was “unacceptable”.
“We confirm a 28-percent increase in the rate of deforestation, reaching 5,843 square kilometers (2,256 square miles),” she told reporters.
She however denied that the rise was “related to any federal government fund cuts for law enforcement”.
The data shows a rebound in deforestation of the world’s largest rainforest after years of progress in halting the rush for clearing land.
Brazil had enacted a controversial law in October 2012 that meant to protect forests and force farmers to replant trees on large swathes of illegally cleared land.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had fought a prolonged battle with the powerful farm lobby to induct a handful of congressional changes into the forest bill.
Brazil’s farm lobby had argued that an easing of environmental restrictions would promote food production.
Environmentalists have opposed the bill because it reduces the total forest area many farmers are required to keep intact.
Brazilian food producers, farmers, ranchers had pushed into the Amazon rainforest to enable Brazil’s rise as one of the world’s biggest exporter of food.
Brazil is the biggest corn exporter in the world with latest figures showing that for the 2012/13 crop year, Brazil exported 22 million tonnes of corn while the US exported 18.58 million tonnes, according to USDA.