Brazil's agricultural producers should have their largest harvest ever in the 2007/2008 grain crop, with a 3.1% increase in production compared with the previous crop. A total of 135.8 million tons of grain should be harvested.
The forecast was made by the minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Reinhold Stephanes, who disclosed the fourth survey on agricultural production, conducted last month by technicians at the National Food Supply Company (Conab) and the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
He asserted, however, that the outcome will depend on weather conditions over the coming weeks, as some crops are currently in the flowering and fruiting stages, during which there can be no shortage of rain.
According to the minister, in general lines, all of the products are performing well, especially corn, soy and cotton, but the supply of beans should decrease 2.1%.
Stephanes claimed that despite the increased production, farmers know that they will have a market, because "there is a worldwide excess demand for food, mostly from Asian countries, and this is a trend that has come to stay."
The minister stated that soy remains the leading grain, with an estimated production of 58.2 million tons, followed by forecasts for 53.4 million tons of corn and 11.9 million tons of rice.
Percentage-wise, the greatest increase in comparison with the previous crop should be that of the wheat crop, which should rise from 2.233 million to 3.831 million tons, the equivalent of a 71.5% growth.
The planted area for grain rose 0.3% to reach 46.4 million hectares. The survey was conducted between December 11th and 18th among cooperatives, public and private institutions in the center-south Brazilian states, plus the states of Piauí (Northeast), Maranhão (Northeast), Rondônia (North), Tocantins (North) and Bahia (Northeast).
Reinhold Stephanes also announced the first estimate for the Brazilian coffee production in 2008, which should range from 41,300 to 44,200 60-kilogram bags of processed coffee. Thus, there should be a minimum growth of 22.4% compared with the previous crop, which totaled 33,740 bags.
The majority of production, or approximately 76%, consists of the Arabica variety, of higher quality, and the remainder consists of Robusta coffee, also known as Conilon.