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July 16, 2015

Mato Grosso Leads Brazil in Soybean and Fish Production

The state of Mato Grosso in central Brazil has assumed another title. In addition to being the largest producer of soybeans, corn, cotton, and cattle in Brazil, it is now also the largest producer of fresh water fish in Brazil. The municipality of Sorriso, which is located in central Mato Grosso, is the largest soybean and now fresh water fish producing municipality in Brazil.

In the municipality of Sorriso, soybeans occupy 620,000 hectares (1.53 million acres) or 65% of the land area and soybeans generate R$ 1.3 billion in revenue or 2% of the national total. The municipality also has 1,700 hectares of fish ponds (0.2% of the land area) producing 21,000 tons of fish per year and generating R$ 110 million in receipts.

The mayor of Sorriso anticipates continued growth in fish production and he estimates that there will be 2,000 hectares of fish ponds in the very near future. More long term, industry experts feel there is a potential to increase fish production in the municipality by as much as ten times to 200,000 tons of fish per year. The entire state of Mato Grosso currently produces 75,000 tons of fish per year, which is 9,000 tons more than the second pace state of Ceara in northeastern Brazil.

The return on investment for semi-intense fish farming in the municipality is currently in the range of 20% to 25%. Therefore, an investment of R$ 40,000 to install the ponds and the equipment is recuperated in approximately three years. After three months in the hatchery, it takes six to nine months to grow a fish to market size. The ponds are stocked and harvested twice a year, once in summer and once in winter. The municipality produces approximately 15 million fish per year with the principal species being pintado, tambacu, and tambaqui.

Two companies, Delicious Fish and Nativ, operate 550 hectares of fish ponds in the municipality with more than 35 other individuals controlling the remainder.

As with grain produced in the state, one disadvantage is that Sorriso is a long distance from the consuming public in the big cities of eastern Brazil and transportation costs are very high. On the other hand, soybeans and corn comprise 80% of the fish ration and both crops are produced locally.

For generations the state of Mato Grosso had been known as cattle country and the state still maintains 28.4 million head of cattle, but which is the largest cattle heard in Brazil.