October 21, 2003



Brazil Set To Be World's Leading Soy Exporter in 2003


Brazil should overtake the US as the world's leading exporter of soya and soya derivatives in 2003, according to the head of the country's National Agriculture Federation (CNA).

According to CNA president Antonio Donizeti Beraldo, Brazil's soya complex export revenue should total US$8 billion in 2003, around US$2 billion more than last year.

This compares with the US$7.2 billion that the US expects to earn from soy complex exports this year.

"Without doubt, this good result will frighten the Americans," said Baraldo. "We're already the world's main exporter and in five years we'll be the world's main producer too," he added.

Brazil's January-August soy complex export revenue totalled US$5.3 billion. This figure is almost US$2 billion more than in the same period last year, according to the FNP consulting firm.

More Increase In 2004

The Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oils Industries Abiove forecasts that Brazilian soyabean exports will rise to 24 million tons, up from 21.2mt estimated for this year.

Meanwhile, soya oil exports could reach 2.8mt compared to 2.4mt in 2003, according to Abiove.

"The Brazilian crop that will be harvested in April 2004 is expected to reach 57mt, a significant growth of more than 10% over the previous year," said Abiove president Carlo Lovatelli.

GM Soya Planting Allowed

Brazil's vice president Jose Alencar signed a temporary decree on last Thursday allowing producers to plant genetically modified (GM) soyabeans until the current season.

The decree said that soyabeans planted in the current planting season could be GM crops. It also limited the sale of the seeds until the end of 2004.

The government described the decree as "exceptional" and said it was intended to address the legal indefinition about the planting of GM crops.

Farmers in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's third largest soya producing state, had asked for an emergency measure to come into force before planting for this year's crop gathered momentum, as a controversial bill on GM crops has been held up by disagreements between ministries about their safety and strong opposition from environmentalists and consumers.

History of Illegal Planting

These farmers have been planting illegal GM soya for years and say that their technology has already been adapted to GM crops; it would be hard for them to change in future. Most Brazilian farmers prefer the GM variety of soya due to the lower production costs.

Brazil has been one of the last major agricultural exporters to ban the planting and sale of GM crops, although it is widely ignored by southern soya farmers.

Exports to China Up 208%

During January-August this year, Brazilian soyabean exports to China rose 208% to total 5.19mt, compared to the 1.68mt shipped in the same period last year. Brazil also shipped 251 000t of soya oil to China during the eight months, up from over 102 000t as compared to 2002.

Much more soya shipments were brought in to China, amount to US$1.1 billion in trade revenues to Brazil in the period, compared with US$310 million last year.