The nation responsible for producing an amount of food that serves 800 million people worldwide, Brazil could be the world’s top grain exporter in five years, outstripping the United States, according to a survey conducted by Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation.
The Latin American country’s share in the global food market rose from $20.6 billion to $100 billion in just ten years, data from Embrapa show, with meat, soy, corn, cotton and forest products as the highlights.
“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,” Empresa Brasil de Comunicação quoted Elisio Contini, scientific researcher and intelligence manager of Embrapa’s Secretariat of Intelligence and Strategic Relations as saying.
The world’s top grain exporter in 2020 was the US, with 138 million tons, followed by Brazil with 122 million tons. “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,” Contini added. “By 2050, Brazil’s production of grains may surpass 500 million tons, becoming even more central to the world’s food security,” he went on to state.
According to Contini, who is the co-author of the report titled “Brazilian agribusiness feeds 800 people 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. Thus, 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 wealth of arable land is one of the factors working in favor of agribusiness.
“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,” Contini argued, pointing out that the territories available for agriculture in other countries, like the US, are nearly exhausted.
Furthermore, he says, technology has the potential to boost national production, in the form of enhanced seeds, efficient supplies, higher-quality machinery across the world. “We need improvements in infrastructure and marketing for our products. The answer to the environmental solution is key to our exports,” he added.
While Brazil is able to feed 800 million around the world, many of Brazilians are going hungry. This January, 12.8% of Brazilians started living on less than R$ 246 per month (R$ 8.20 per day), a level of extreme poverty established by FGV Social. The rate is higher than that of the beginning of the previous decade (12.4%) and that of 2019 (11%).