Brazil's current scenario for agriculture is much better than the forecasts made in late 2008, when the global financial crisis was reflected on national agriculture due to the outflow of foreign capital. This evaluation is by Agriculture minister Reinhold Stephanes, who on Friday, August 7, made a balance of the sector priorities for the second half.
Stephanes said that the depreciation of the Brazilian real against the dollar greatly exceeded the reduction of prices of agricultural commodities on the foreign market, stimulating the growth of the volume exported by 4.5% in the first months of the year.
"The balance should continue positive in 2009, as Brazil is the main net exporter of agricultural products in the world and the value of exports is six times the value of imports," he said.
Among the priorities of the ministry up to the end of the year, the minister of Agriculture pointed out the great challenge to Brazilian agribusiness expansion on the international market, mainly in the livestock sector.
He said that it is necessary to improve trade relations with China, with whom Brazil is negotiating the authorization for the sale of pork, as is the case with Japan.
With regard to South Africa, the country is trying to reopen the chicken and pork market, closed since 2005. Talks with Russia are proceeding for greater quotas for meats that may be imported from Brazil.
According to Stephanes, the government should also closely accompany the mechanisms for the trade of wheat, which should start being harvested next month.
Despite the last study by the National Food Supply Company (Conab) estimating a slight reduction, he believes that if the climate helps, there may be a slight growth of between 5% and 10% in the grain crop when compared to the 6 million tons harvested in 2008.
The target, up to 2012, is to reach production of around 60% of the needs of the population, which should reach around 11 million tons of wheat this year.
The minister of Agriculture said that the information he has heard from Argentina, the main wheat supplier for the national market, should have further crop reduction, thus further reducing exports to Brazil. "This year they sowed little over half the volume they had planted in the same period last year," he said.
The minister added that, if this takes place, the possibility of a lower Common Foreign Tariff (TEC) for countries outside the Mercosur may be evaluated, but taking into consideration the maintenance of prices on the domestic market.