July 21, 2008

Brazil's Coamo raises 2008-09 soy area by 2.3 percent


Brazil's largest agricultural cooperative, Coamo, expects a 2.3 percent rise in land devoted to soy production in 2008-09, according to President Jose Aroldo Gallassini.

Coamo's operations in Parana state, Santa Catarina and Mato Grosso do Sul states, will devote around 1.39 million hectares (3.4 million acres) to grow soy from 1.36 million hectares in 2007-08.

Coamo will devote another 256,500 hectares to grow corn compared to 250,800 hectares in 2007-08.

"Each year there's some variation depending on the price of the crops," Aroldo told Dow Jones Newswires in a telephone interview.

The cooperative should produce 4.2 million tonnes of crops this year such as soy, corn, wheat and coffee. Soy should account for around 2.5 million tonnes and corn 1.5 million tonnes, he said.

Aroldo said Coamo is also pumping around 180 million Brazilian reals ($112 million) into modernizing and expanding its soy activities between 2008 and 2010.

Of the total, almost BRL70 million will go to soy storage facilities and BRL70 million to expand its crushing capacity to 3,000 tonnes per day from 2,000 tonnes at its Campo Mourao complex in Parana state.

Coamo expects to export $540 million of soy this year to 27 countries, versus $350 million last year.

Coamo, which has 4,300 employees, estimates sales will reach BRL4.2 billion this year.

Brazil is the world's second-largest exporter of soy after the US. Corn is the country's largest crop in terms of hectares.

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