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Brazil’s remarkable success in soybean
Brazil’s remarkable success in soybean production, processing and export continues to gain momentum in 2003. The 2003 crop, planted in the last quarter of 2002 and harvested, in large part, in the first four months of 2003, has exceeded all expectations and most estimates of the total crop size range between 51 and 53 million metric tons. Brazil continues to wrestle with finalizing a policy on agricultural biotechnology. As matters stand, a Provisional Measure has been signed allowing for the planting of biotech seed varieties for 2003/04 crop but this measure is also being contested though the planting of biotech seed continues.

Much has been made about the dramatic expansion in Brazilian soybean production and the possibility of it overtaking the United States as the leading producer in the next few years. The attention that Brazil has garnered is warranted. ATO Sao Paulo has revised output to 52.5 MMT for Brazil’s 2003 soybean crop, at least twenty percent larger than 2002’s output level though area increased no more than thirteen percent. Yields improved as there were no major weather concerns and experienced southern producers migrating to the states of the Center-West and northeasterly to Maranhao and northward to parts of Para, for example, explain much of the production boom. In tandem with the farmers opening up new land, the whole agricultural input/output system comprised of multinationals and Brazilian companies is widening its presence across the state of Mato Grosso but also in outposts like Tocantins and Piaui, often in previously underdeveloped regions, making seed, fertilizer, herbicides available on the one hand and credit, purchasing, transport and export to complete the cycle.

Especially in view of very favorable international market prices for soybeans and derivatives due to the markedly reduced 2003 U.S. crop, there is every reason to expect yet another strong leap in production in 2004. And in view of the growth in output achieved with the 2003 harvest, another jump on the order of twelve percent could push Brazilian production to the 59 million metric ton level.

USDA’s projection that Brazil’s exports of soybeans and derivatives in the course of 2003/04 production cycle will, for the first time ever, exceed those of the United States, has gained considerable press. Overall Brazil’s agricultural trade surplus surpassed $20 billion in 2002 and looks like it will be approach the $25 billion mark for the 2003 calendar year. It is no surprise that the soy complex is the leading export sales generator for the agricultural sector, and the export value derived from soybeans and products top $8 billion in 2003.

In terms of markets for its soybeans and derivatives, China and the EU continue to be the most important Brazilian customers. Overall, China is the largest buyer of soybeans, the Netherlands the biggest buyer of meal and Iran purchases the most vegetable oil.

MGR Archive 4.11.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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EU Prices Baldo €660
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