Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply Reinhold Stephanes stated that Brazil's 2010 grain harvest is on track to meet historic 2007-08 crop levels. According to a new survey released this month by the National Supply Company (Conab), the 2010 harvest is expected to yield 144.0 million tons, representing a 6.5 percent increase from the previous year. This performance is approaching the 2007-08 harvest yields of 144.1 million tons, the largest in Brazil's history.
"Brazil is an agricultural superpower, leading the world's supply of essential food commodities," said Minister Stephanes. "We will keep a close eye on the 2010 harvest, as it is very close to setting a new record for Brazil. Grain production continues to be a driving force behind our growing agribusiness exports."
The positive performance in the grain sector is due in part to increased productivity and steady rainfall. Soybean production is leading the performance with an anticipated 18.2 percent year-on-year increase in annual production to 67.57 million tons.
Brazil agricultural productivity levels highest in the world
In the years from 1975-2008, Brazil's agricultural productivity growth rates averaged 3.66 percent, ahead of China (3.20 percent), Australia (2.12 percent) and the United States (1.95 percent), according to a study prepared by the Brazilian Office of Strategic Management within the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply.
Brazil's strong agricultural performance was driven by genetic technologies and the introduction of new cultivars that yielded higher productivity in key commodities such as soybeans, corn, coffee, sugarcane, meat, fruit and vegetable products. Sugarcane yields grew from 49 tons per hectare to 80 tons per hectare in a ten-year period. Corn productivity reached 12 tons per hectare and soybeans six tons per hectare. The production of beef, which yielded 11 kg of carcass per hectare in 1997, rose to 39 kg in 2008. Poultry productivity rose dramatically from 373,000 tons in 1975 to 10 million tons in 2008.
Cattle Guardian Program combating deforestation through electronic tracking permits
By the end of this year, 110,000 cattle farms in the Brazilian state of Para will employ satellite monitoring through the national Cattle Guardian Program (Programa Boi Guardiao) introduced in December 2009. This initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture aims to reduce Amazon deforestation caused by cattle ranching. Since the end of 2009, the project has monitored approximately 15,000 properties in six municipalities in Para, where nearly four million cattle are raised.
Under the Cattle Guardian Program, electronic permits for animal transit (GTA) will only be issued on the condition that cattle are raised in non-deforested areas. The verification is monitored through satellite surveillance. GTA permits include information on sanitation and are mandatory for the transport of animals between properties, municipalities, states, slaughterhouses, or to other countries for export. By the end of 2010, the program will monitor the entire states of Para, Rondonia, and the Amazon region within the state of Mato Grosso. With over 18 million cattle heads, Para is the fifth largest cattle producer in the country.