Brazil’s seventh estimate of the cereal, legume, and oilseed plant crop indicate that the volume of production this year should attain 119.479 million tons, 3.36 percent less than the 123.632 million tons harvested in 2003.
Compared with the estimate made in June, July’s figures showed a 0.57% increase, reflecting alterations in the calculations made by farmers.
The 2004 agricultural crop will be smaller than last year’s as a result of heavy rains, as well as the drought that affected the most important centers of production.
This is the assessment made by the manager of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics’ (IBGE) Systematic Survey of Agricultural Production, Carlos Alberto Lauria, based on the data for July.
According to Lauria, “soybeans were the chief culprit behind the decline in this year’s crop, since it is responsible for 40 percent of the entire domestic harvest. The drought in southern Brazil, the main center of soybean production, caused the loss of more than 40 percent of the crop.”
Lauria remarked that this year’s remaining scheduled estimates will not change the forecast for the overall harvest very much, since approximately 85% of the harvest has already been gathered. Wheat is the only crop still in the fields, but it accounts for only 5% of the total.
At the end of July, the IBGE had estimated that this year’s grain harvest would come in at 118,803,000 tons, which is 3.9 percent less than in 2003.
The southern region of Brazil remains its biggest grain producer, with 48.9 million tons. The smallest is the northern region, which produces only 3.3 million tons of grains.
Accordind to reports from the CNA (National Agricultural Confederation)also released in July, this year’s Brazilian coffee harvest is going to shrink by 21 percent, compared to the 2002/2003 harvest. That means 38.2 million sacks, instead of 48.4 million.
According to the president of the CNA Coffee Commission, João Roberto Puliti, coffee growers do not have working capital because their income has fallen sharply over the last three years due to a drop in international prices.
That forces them to sell their crops when prices are not advantageous because they cannot stockpile their goods and wait for more favorable prices. Stockpiling is essential if the market is to be stable because the coffee harvest is biannual, with a strong harvest followed by a smaller one, explains Puliti. This year there will be a big harvest.
Puliti says coffee growers need more credit so they can stockpile. In response, the government has announced US$300 million (900 million reais) to be used for coffee stockpiles.
Another solution would be purchases by the government, says Puliti. That would alleviate the situation, allowing coffee growers to stockpile their product and get a strong income next year, he declared.