The share of developing nations in purchases of Brazilian agricultural products rose from 39.6% to 48.2% of the country's total exports, from 2001 to 2007. China answered to half that expansion, having risen from 3.7% to 8% of overall Brazilian exports.
However, if developed countries have reduced their share of purchases of agricultural products exported by Brazil, they have expanded their volume of total purchases at an annual rate of 13.2%. Developing markets, in turn, have increased imports of Brazilian agribusiness products by an average of 20% a year.
The figures are part of the Commercial Exchange in Agribusiness – Leading Target Markets survey, released August 14 by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply. The country's total exports in the sector, from 2001 to 2007, went from US$ 23.9 billion to US$ 58.4 billion.
According to the Foreign Relations secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Célio Porto, approximately 70% of the performance is a result of increased production, whereas the remainder was generated by rising prices of agricultural commodities.
To him, Brazil has great potential for growth in the sector, because it has low trade volumes with large consumer countries, such as India and Indonesia, which have a combined population of almost 1.5 billion people. One of the highlights is Russia. Iran and Venezuela have also stood out in recent years, with annual growth rates of around 30%.
Porto stated that the ministry is seeking to facilitate imports of fertilizers, one of the main villains in the food crisis, and is also encouraging exports in general. The first step, according to him, was fostering the formation of consortia or condominiums of buyers, so as to lower freight costs, given the fact that an entire vessel is often required in order to transport the cargo.
Another point is foreign missions turned to the fertilizer sector. According to the secretary, in addition to the countries that have already been visited, a mission of technicians and businessmen should be sent to North Africa, "which has large manufacturers of the three fertilizers: phosphorous-, potassium- and nitrogen-based."