Brazil Still Has the Same Railway System of 60 Years Ago

The perspective of Brazil becoming the greatest world producer of food is an element that causes admiration and resistance on the foreign market.

“Worldwide there is fear of the agricultural Brazil,” stated the Brazilian minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Roberto Rodrigues, during the 4th Brazilian Agribusiness Congress, which discussed the world tendencies of Agribusiness in São Paulo.


“We are competitive and competent. And that causes a reaction from other markets,” he said.


According to the Minister, it is necessary for there to be sustainable development, with stimulation to productivity and sanitation.


“Among our priorities are the development of technology, use of agro-energy, quality and added value to the products and improvement of the agricultural technology,” stated the Minister.


Rodrigues pointed out that we are living the beginning of a new era, where the biomass will return to being a great source of energy for the world.


“The production of biofuel promotes enormous environmental and economic gains. Any country may produce biofuel, which could result in a reduction of the distance between the rich and poor,” he justified.


The Minister also recalled that the transformation of ethanol into a commodity would be great for the tropical countries that have light, land, technology and water all year round.


He also recalled that Brazil is currently investing in research for greater use of flex-fuel engines, which operate on both alcohol and gas. In May 2005, this kind of vehicle already represented 51% of car sales in Brazil.


New Barriers


The board of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (Abag) pointed out that the creation of new barriers may create a boycott to the development of Brazilian agribusiness on foreign trade.


“Within the next few years all the tariff barriers should drop. The new barriers will be social and environmental,” guaranteed the executive director of the Abag for the region of Ribeirão Preto, in the interior of São Paulo, Mônica Bergamaschi.


According to her, the occurrence of slave labor and the non-compliance with environmental law, which must urgently be reanalyzed, will be responsible for the problem.


One of the actions that may be used to avoid it, which must be taken soon, is the satellite monitoring of the entire Amazon region, technically identifying the area possible for farming. “We need a technical definition,” she guaranteed.


According to the director, the monitoring project is already being developed in partnership with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa).


Bottlenecks


“Logistics and infrastructure are currently the Achilles tendon of Brazilian agribusiness,” stated the president of the Abag, Carlo Lovatelli.


“Around 60% of our transport is on highways. We still have the same 30,000-kilometer railway structure of 60 years ago. Not to mention that we have a storage deficit of 37 million tons,” stated the president of the Abag.


According to Lovatelli, the challenge of Brazilian agribusiness is not focussed on few things, like the reduction of the 2004/2005 crop. “This is a cyclic factor and we know it will be overcome. Everyone is trying to help, the government, banks and suppliers. But Brazil needs tools to compensate problems like these,” he argued.


In the evaluation of Lovatelli, it is necessary to open more markets for sale of products on the foreign market and to overcome the high costs and taxes and the enormous bureaucracy that makes any process complex in the country.


The president of the Abag also called attention to environmental preservation, which, according to him, may be used to limit the Brazilian operation of in World Trade Organization (WTO), as non-tariff barriers have become the most fertile field for commercial questioning.


Lovatelli also mentioned the importance of bioenergy and of the sustainability of the sector. “We already have programs for ethanol and biodiesel for domestic consumption and export. This is undoubtedly the great business of the future in the Agribusiness sector,” he guaranteed.


Figures


Brazilian agribusiness is playing a more and more important part in the domestic economy. The sector generates over 37% of the jobs in the country, answers to 34% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to 42% of exports.


The country is the largest world exporter of products like soy, coffee, sugar, orange juice, and tobacco and cattle beef and chicken meat. Brazil is also in the fourth place in agricultural exports worldwide, with an average growth of over 6% a year.


Anba – www.anba.com.br

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