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December 17, 2010

Brazilian Minister of Agriculture Sees Continued Growth in Ag Sector

As President Lula gets set to hand over the reins of government to President Rousseff, the Minister of Agriculture designate, Wagner Rossi, feels Brazil is in a unique position to continue to be one of the principal food producers and exporters in the world. He feels Brazil is in a unique position of being self sufficient in all the basic food needs except for wheat while also being one of the largest food exporters in the world as well.

According to Rossi, in addition to being self sufficient in most of its basic food stuffs, Brazil is the largest exporter of the soybean complex (grain, meal, and oil), meats, sugar, and forest products. Rossi stated that Brazil is the leading producer of sugar, coffee, and orange juice and the second largest producer of soybeans, beef, tobacco, and ethanol.

The agricultural sector is one of the principal economic engines powering the Brazilian economy and it is responsible for 25% of the Gross Domestic Product and one third of the jobs in Brazil. Over the last eight years, agricultural exports increased 111% from US$ 30.65 billion in 2003 to US$ 64.7 billion in 2009 or 42% of the total exports from Brazil. Agricultural exports in 2010 are expected to total US$ 76 billion or 17% more than in 2009.

Over the last eight years, Brazil's agricultural production increased 21% from 123 million tons of grain production in 2003 to an estimated 149 million tons of grain in the current growing season. The area devoted to crop production increased 17% over the last eight years from 40 million hectares in 2003 to an estimated 47 million hectares in 2010/11 or an increase of 17%. Productivity per hectare increased at a faster rate than the acreage increase.

The Minister emphasized that his administration will in addition to promoting production agriculture, put extra emphasis on: developing sustainable agriculture, strengthening cooperatives, improving incomes for family farmers, emphasize the use of degraded areas for increased crop production, reducing deforestation, reducing greenhouse gas emission and environmental protection.