The estimate for Brazil's 2004/2005 coffee crop is 38,264 million sacks, 32.8
percent more than the previous harvest of 28,820 million sacks.
However, according to
the Secretary of Production and Commercialization, Linneu Costa Lima, it is
possible that the crop will be smaller than the Ministry of Agriculture's
prediction, since the country's production was damaged by the rains in May
and June of this year and is liable to be adversely affected by further rainfall
Costa Lima considers it
possible that the market will react by raising coffee prices. The average
export price per sack, which was US$ 46 in 2002, rose to US$ 56 last year
and US$ 74 this year.
"The market is reacting.
The Brazilian crop is late and may yield less and of poorer quality. If the
supply is smaller, the price will have to adjust," Costa Lima affirms.
A survey conducted by
the National Supply Company (Conab) demonstrates that there is an equilibrium
between supply and demand. Growers are expected to have the crop ready by
September 15 and be prepared for the possibility of additional rainfall.
So far, according to the
Conab, only a small portion of the crop has been harvested, and only 33 percent
has been processed for export. The months of May and June are regarded as
the best time to harvest.
According to the Ministry
of Agriculture, the Brazilian government is trying to make sufficient funds
available for commercialization, so that growers need not make hasty sales
to cover harvesting expenses.
The government has already
allocated US$ 165 million (500 million reais) to commercialization, but these
resources can only be used when the coffee is ready for export.
Another US$ 99 million
(300 million reais) will be made available to growers as a result of a decision
by the National Monetary Council (CMN).
Minas Gerais is the principal
coffee-growing state in Brazil, with 18.6 million sacks. Second place belongs
to Espírito Santo, with 6.4 million sacks. São Paulo is third,
with 5 million sacks.
In the assessment of the
Ministry of Agriculture, the market has shown signs of recovery. 13.9 million
sacks were exported between January and July of this year, compared to 14.2
million sacks during the same period last year.
Although this year's export
volume was less, revenues were up US$ 232 million. (US$ 1.29 billion in 2004
versus US$ 798 billion in 2003).
Workshop on Wine
Specialists from the Brazilian
Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa) and universities in Spain and Portugal
will take part in the First International Workshop on Research about Wine
Production in Tropical Regions, from August 17 to August 19.
The idea of the event,
which will be held at the Technological Institute of the state of Pernambuco
(Itep), is to gather scientists to discuss the application of science and
technology to the production of wine grapes in regions with tropical climates.
According to Jorge Tonietto,
an Embrapa researcher, tropical climates and soils contribute to the production
of grapes that result in wines with original flavors.
The wines produced in
the São Francisco Valley, in Northeastern Brazil, have been gaining
a growing share of consumer markets at home and in Europe.
In the region, which is
home to eight wineries, six million liters are processed annually, representing
15 percent of domestic wine production.
This activity currently
accounts for US$ 4.97 million in annual business, but entrepreneurs expect
that the amount will increase to US$ 16.5 million in the next four years,
based on the use of new production technologies.
Five thousand farmers
in 110 municipalities of the state of Pernambuco, in Northeastern Brazil,
will be benefited by a program to stimulate the production of grain sorghum.
The idea is to expand
cultivation, ensuring at the same time the application of advanced technology
in technical assistance and rural extension, in order to generate more jobs
and income and provide better conditions to compete on the market.
The Ministry of Agrarian
Development will offer US$ 9.26 million (R$ 28 million) in rural credit to
use for the program, with the goal of increasing the area under cultivation
to 50 thousand hectares by 2005.
According to the State
Secretary of Rural Production, Gabriel Maciel, sorghum can replace up to 50
percent of the corn utilized as feed and in food mixtures by the poultry sector.
He explained that greater productivity and resistance to pests and drought
are among the advantages of sorghum in relation to corn.
"Sorghum is an energetic
cereal with characteristics similar to corn and easily adapted to the hot
climate of the Northeast, where it is grown in the states of Pernambuco, Rio
Grande do Norte, Bahia, and Ceará," he informed.
In human alimentation
it is used in typical regional dishes, such as couscous, popcorn, cornmeal
mush, and corn dodgers. Sorghum meal is also used to make cookies, pasta,
Data from the Rural Extension
Directory of the Pernambucan Agricultural Research Company (IPA) indicate
that the sorghum harvest in the state should amount to 12 thousand tons.
Farmers who invest in
sorghum will receive guarantees from the National Supply Company (Conab) and
the Pernambucan Poultry Association to buy 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively,
of all they produce.
Nádia Faggiani works for Agência Brasil (AB), the official
press agency of the Brazilian government. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
from the Portuguese by David Silberstein.