Agribusiness in Brazil jumps the most in 20 years and is now equivalent to the GDP of Argentina

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Between 2002 and 2022, the country’s agricultural GDP jumped from US$ 122 billion to US$ 500 billion and is already equivalent to that of Argentina, informs José Maria Tomazela. For 2023, a record harvest of more than 300 million tons is expected, according to the National Supply Company (Conab). With this, Brazil establishes itself as the world’s third-largest producer of cereals, behind China and the USA. This growth is based on investment in research and public policies for the field. “It is sustainable growth”, says economist José Roberto Mendonça de Barros.

This year’s record harvest of more than 300 million tons expected for Brazil demonstrates the proportion that agribusiness has taken within the Brazilian economy. Between 2002 and 2022, the country’s agricultural GDP jumped (in deflated numbers) from US$ 122 billion to US$ 500 billion – the equivalent of Argentina.

According to economist José Roberto Mendonça de Barros, Brazilian agribusiness has shown extraordinary growth over the last 40 years, especially in the last 20 years. “Unlike what happened in the urban sector, whether in industry or services, agribusiness growth is persistent, and this is the first lesson that agro teaches. Always growing is more important than growing a lot in a few years and falling in the following years. It is sustainable growth, which makes agribusiness very competitive.”

This growth, according to experts, is based on investment in research and public policies for the countryside, which have led to successive records in agricultural production. According to the National Supply Company (Conab), Brazil should break the barrier of 300 million tons of grain this year, establishing itself as the third largest cereal producer in the world, behind China and the United States.

TECHNOLOGY. In 20 years, the grain harvest rose from 120.2 million tons to 310.6 million, an increase of 258%. The planted area went from 43.7 million to 76.7 million hectares, an increase of 76.5%. The numbers show that production grew three times more than the crop area due to productivity gains, thanks to investments in research and technology.

The highlight in Brazilian fields is soy, an oilseed that has adapted to the different microclimates of the country, being cultivated both in the colder regions of the extreme south and in the tropical climate of the north and northeast. Brazil overtook the United States and became the largest grain producer, today’s main exporter.

While 2002/03 harvest yielded 47.4 million tons of soy, the current one will produce 152.9 million, an increase of 322%, according to Conab. Corn, used in crop rotation with soybeans, grew 260%, from 47.4 million to 123 million tons.

The agribusiness GDP, calculated by the Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea) at the University of São Paulo, will only be released next month but should be close to US$ 500 billion, according to researcher Nicole Rennó, from the area of macroeconomics from Cepea. The drop in value caused by the sector’s high costs was partially offset by good harvests.

DOUBLING THE AVERAGE. Agronomist Tamires Tangerino, 33 years old, a technical consultant for Stoller, a company specialising in plant physiology and nutrition, has applied her knowledge to help producers in southwestern São Paulo reach high productivity levels.

On the last day of the 14th, in a commercial soy plantation by Cooperativa Agrícola de Capão Bonito, it obtained productivity of 6,672 kg per hectare, double the national average and above the excellent regional average of 4,800 kg/ha – an example of the impact of research as an engine of growth.

Source: Estadao BR

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