WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With yields and exports increasing
and technology better than ever before, Brazil has risen to be a forerunner in
the agricultural industry.
Marcos Fava Neves, a professor at the University of São
Paulo and visiting professor at Purdue University, has seen this firsthand.
Neves started out delivering papers as a teenager, but today
he is heavily involved in agribusiness affairs in Brazil and internationally. At
the Top Farmer Crop Workshop at Purdue, he explained trends and expectations for
Brazil’s future in agribusiness.
“Brazil’s crop this year will be 15 percent bigger than last
year,” he said. “This year, the agribusiness exports in Brazil will be $100
billion U.S., and in 2000 it was $20 billion. It’s saving the Brazilian
Neves said that the country is facing many problems
politically and in other areas, but it is thriving agriculturally. He credits
Brazil’s success to the economic growth of emerging countries.
“When you look at the trade from 2000, exports to the U.S.
and Europe represented almost 60 percent of Brazilian exports,” he said. “When
you look 10 years after, it was 34 percent. It came from 60 to 34. The important
markets in terms of growth today are Africa and emerging economies.”
According to Neves, rising land values are pushing farmers
to produce more crops on the same land. He said that farmers in Brazil are more
informed and professional than in the past and mentioned that business models
Brazil’s main food exports include soybeans, meat,
sugarcane, corn and coffee. Of the top 10 exports, Neves noted that only two
products do not look promising — cotton and orange juice.
“They face a stiff competition from outside of agriculture,”
he said. “Cotton faces competition from industrial sources of fiber substituting
cotton in a cheaper way.”
But the biggest challenges face the orange-growing farmers.
“It’s a declining product in terms of market,” Neves
explained. “Why? You have one new beverage launched every day. And most of these
beverages are not using fruits. It’s a tough message for our farmers who are
producing oranges. Besides all the diseases that are spreading.”
Other challenges that face Brazil’s agricultural industry
include infrastructural problems such as lack of developed road systems. Neves
also said that storage facilities and high labor costs are major factors that
need to be addressed.