Tuesday, October 23 07:27:53
Brazil has for centuries been known as a leading producer and exporter of the world's breakfast, or soft, commodities - orange juice, coffee, sugar and cocoa.
But over the past two and a half decades since opening to foreign participation, Latin America's largest economy has also become a leading supplier of important grains and meats, through investments in technology and land.
Following is a list of Brazil's main agricultural products and exports:
- BEEF: Brazil has the largest commercial cattle herd on the planet, at around 200 million head. Although it consumes about 80 percent of its beef, Brazil still manages to be the world's largest exporter of the meat. It produces mostly Indicus breeds such as the Zebu and Nelore, which are best suited for tropical climates, and most of the herd is grass-fed.
- POULTRY/PORK: With a fast-expanding grain belt, Brazil has leveraged its corn and soy production to become the world's largest exporter of poultry meat and a growing exporter of pork. Feed accounts for about 70 percent of pork and poultry production costs.
- SOYBEANS: After the creation of commercial soybean varieties suitable for its tropical growing areas in the 1970s, Brazil soon became the No. 2 soybean producer and exporter and will likely overtake the United States as the leading producer of the oilseed this year.
- CORN: Brazil had been a marginal corn exporter until a few years ago, keeping 95 percent of the 60 million tonnes-plus produced at home to feed its booming pork and poultry industries. But since discovering it could plant two corn crops per year in some areas, Brazil has exported around 7 to 11 million tonnes a year, making it the No. 3 world exporter.
- SUGAR: As the world's largest producer and exporter of the sweetener, Brazil dominates half the world's sugar market.
- ETHANOL: Brazil is typically the world's largest exporter of cane-based ethanol, shipping around 3 billion liters (0.8 billion gallons) a year. This pales in comparison with the 23-28 billion liters that it produces annually for the domestic flex-fuel car fleet.
- COFFEE: As the world's largest producer and exporter, it produces between 35 million and 55 million 60-kg bags of coffee annually, mostly arabica. It controls about 30 percent of the international market.
- COTTON: Brazil was a marginal producer of cotton but in past years jumped into the No. 4 slot among world exporters. This comes on the heels of winning a dispute at the World Trade Organization over U.S. subsidies. Brazil produces close to 2 million tonnes of high-grade, long-fiber cotton lint.
- TIMBER: With abundant rain, sun and land in the tropics, Brazil - as with most of the above crops - is the lowest-cost producer of pulp from timber. Eucalyptus trees have a growing cycle of about seven years, compared with 10-12 years in Chile and 25 years in North America and Europe.
- ORANGE JUICE: As the largest producer and exporter of the beverage, it accounts for roughly one in every two glasses of concentrated orange juice consumed in the world.
- COCOA: Brazil ranks sixth among cocoa growers but was No. 2 only a few decades ago until witch's broom disease devastated its plantations, slashing output by more than half.
- TOBACCO: Brazil is the largest producer of tobacco, cultivation of which is concentrated in the southern growing states. ( C) Reuters