Study: Brazil to be world’s top grain exporter in five years

The country is likely to overtake the US, currently number one

Published in 15/03/2021 - 13:00 By Pedro Peduzzi - Brasília

The nation whose food output is reported to serve 800 million people across the world, Brazil should continue to expand its share in global supplies and become the planet’s biggest grain exporter in the next five years, outstripping the US. The data can be found in a survey conducted by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Embrapa.

According to the corporation, Brazil’s share in the global food market leapt from $20.6 billion to $100 billion in just ten years. Among the items standing out were meat, soybeans, corn, cotton, and forest products.

“Looking at the data from the last 20 years (2000 to 2020), Brazil’s grain production grew 210 percent, whereas the world’s increased 60 percent. Brazil is the fourth producer worldwide, but the second in exports of grains—essentially soybeans and corn,” said Elisio Contini, scientific researcher and intelligence manager of Embrapa’s Secretariat of Intelligence and Strategic Relations.

The largest grain exporter in 2020 was the US, with 138 million tons. Brazil’s 122 million came second. “In the next five years, Brazil should overtake the US in exports. Based on this history and with high product prices worldwide, Brazil’s output is likely to reach three percent of the world’s growth,” he said.

“By 2050, Brazil’s production of grains may surpass 500 million tons, becoming even more central to the world’s food security,” he added.

The forecast is based on a study entitled “Brazilian agribusiness feeds 800 people,” by Elisio Contini and Adalberto Aragão, recently published by Embrapa.

Contini notes that the Brazilian contribution is expressed both directly and indirectly, as a portion of the production of soybeans and corns is directed at feeding cattle, and, as a result, the production of meats and milk.

“Grain production in Brazil from 2011 to 2020 grew 5.33 percent a year, compared to 2.03 percent globally. This means that Brazil grew more than twice as much as the world,” he went on to state.

Thus, he added, Brazil has a “window of business opportunities” of at least 20 years—an opportunity that should not be missed. “After all, we’re becoming an economy of natural resources.”

The country’s privileged position comes chiefly as a result of its significant amount of arable land. “Part of the 160 million hectares of grazing land may be repurposed for grain production, with regular raining seasons like the Cerrado areas, world leaders in tropical technology and competent agricultural producers,” he argued, pointing out that the territories available for agriculture in other countries, like the US, are nearly exhausted.

Furthermore, Contini says, technology has the potential to boost national production, in the form of enhanced seeds, efficient supplies, higher-quality machinery across the world, and efficient production systems like no-till farming and integration between crops and animal husbandry.

“We need improvements in infrastructure and marketing for our products. The answer to the environmental solution is key to our exports,” he added.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Aline Leal / Nira Foster

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