According to data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), Brazil’s agricultural sector grew 0.8% in 2005, the smallest percentage since 1997, when the sector registered a 0.8% decline. In 2004, agriculture expanded 5.3%.
Outbreaks of hoof and mouth disease in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and crop losses involving corn, coffee, rice, tobacco, cotton, and oranges, due to climatic problems, were indicated by the institute’s manager of National Accounts, Rebeca Palis, as the chief factors responsible for the sector’s disappointing performance last year.
"We had growth in the production of important crops, such as soybeans, sugarcane, and manioc, but the rates were inferior to those recorded in 2004, which didn’t help to improve agricultural performance," she commented.
Brazilian industry grew 2.5% in 2005, evidencing a recovery in relation to 2004, when the result was negative (-0.07%). Mineral extraction was the stellar performer, up 10.9%, pushed by increases in the production of iron ore, petroleum, and natural gas.
"On the other hand, manufacturing, which grew 1.3%, was held down by decreases in the production of sectors like steelmaking, metallurgy, and textiles, caused by the drop in the exchange rate, which increased the competitiveness of imported products," she observed.