Soya has had its detractors in recent years, condemned by some as an unsustainable crop, linked to loss of biodiversity. Initially, focus was on protecting the Amazon Rainforest.

Focus has now also turned to Brazil's Cerrado savannah, which holds 5% of the world's biodiversity and has continued to disappear to make way for expanding agriculture, including soya production.

In the past few months, the launch of the WWF's Cerrado conservation campaign has brought the issue of soya back into the media limelight. But soya is not the villain of the piece. Those who claim that all soya is bad and demand that it should somehow be 'stopped' do not understand the commercial realities of food production in the 21st century.

The world's soya crop currently stands at around 250 million tonnes, with the US, Brazil, Argentina, China, India and Paraguay growing more than 90% of the world's supply. China and the EU are the two largest importers of soya.

In the West, the vast majority of soya meal is used in animal feed, with a minority used in food. In the Far East, soya was traditionally consumed as food, but increasing amounts are now being used in animal feed. Soya is practically irreplaceable in feeds for pigs and poultry, as nothing else provides the same high quality of protein and amino acids in such a nutrient-dense form.

The focal point of our industry's efforts must be to make this a commodity in which we can have confidence. In 2011, the Roundtable on Responsible Soya (RTRS) a global initiative supported by major NGOs such as WWF, industry and farmers has certified its first 85,000 tonnes of 'sustainable' soya and expects to certify two million tonnes in 2012. With an estimated 81% of global soya being GM, the arguments for and against biotechnology have become a largely academic debate it's another reality of modern, commercial food production, just like soya.

Put simply, we can't live without this valuable commodity so demonisation is not sensible. We therefore need to do all we can to make its production sustainable.

Johanna Buitelaar Warden is head of business development at agricultural sustainability experts AB Sustain