Brazil’s mission is to feed the world

Brazil's mission is to feed the world

Brazil of all of us is already one of the world’s breadbaskets and works to expand this vocation and leadership.

Divide a country’s grain production by its number of inhabitants. If the result is below 250 kg / person / year, this means food insecurity. Countries in this situation are obliged to import food. And there are many importers of plant and animal foods on all continents, without exception.

The growth of the population, of the middle class and of the income, mainly in the Asian countries, annually increases the demand for diversified and quality foods, as the proteins of animal origin. In 2014, South Korea imported US $ 27 billion in food, Japan US $ 68.9 billion and China US $ 105.2 billion. The best selling soft drink in the world defines its mission as “to quench the thirst of the planet”. Brazil’s mission may already be: to satisfy the planet’s hunger. And with the applause of nutritionists.

In 2015, Brazil produced 207 million tons of grain for a population of 206 million inhabitants. That is, one ton of grains per inhabitant. Brazil’s grain production alone is enough to feed four times its population or more than 850 million people. In addition to grains, Brazil produces about 35 million tons of tubers and roots (cassava, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, yams, etc.) per year. Basic food for more than 100 million people.

The growth of the population, of the middle class and of the income, mainly in the Asian countries, annually increases the demand for diversified and quality foods, as the proteins of animal origin. In 2014, South Korea imported US $ 27 billion in food, Japan US $ 68.9 billion and China US $ 105.2 billion. The best selling soft drink in the world defines its mission as “to quench the thirst of the planet”. Brazil’s mission may already be: to satisfy the planet’s hunger. And with the applause of nutritionists.

In 2015, Brazil produced 207 million tons of grain for a population of 206 million inhabitants. That is, one ton of grains per inhabitant. Brazil’s grain production alone is enough to feed four times its population or more than 850 million people. In addition to grains, Brazil produces about 35 million tons of tubers and roots (cassava, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, yams, etc.) per year. Basic food for more than 100 million people.

Brazilian agriculture still produces more than 40 million tons of fruit, on about 3 million hectares. There are 7 million tons of bananas, one fruit / inhabitant / day. The same occurs with oranges and other citrus, which total 19 million tons / year. The production of grape, avocado, guava, pineapple, watermelon, apple, coconut grows every year…

To the tropical and temperate fruits are added 10 million tons of vegetables, grown in 800 thousand hectares and with an impressive diversity, result of the encounter of the native biodiversity with the inputs of vegetables, legumes and spices brought by Portuguese, Spanish, Italians, Arabs , Japanese, Teutonic and so on, far away.

One cannot forget, in the annual production of food, about one million tons of chestnuts, almonds, pine nuts and walnuts, in addition to edible oils, from palm to sunflower, and a great diversity of palm hearts. No less relevant is the production of 34 million tons of sugar / year, ubiquitous in all homes, restaurants and bars. Vegetable production in Brazil already feeds more than a billion people worldwide, using only 8% of the national territory.

Animal production is added to all this. In 2015, the country slaughtered 30.6 million cattle, 39.3 million pigs and almost 6 billion chickens. It’s a lot of meat. Thing of 25 million tons! The average consumption of meat by Brazilians is of the order of 120 kg / inhabitant / year or 2.5 kg per person per week.

The average consumption of beef is estimated at 42 kg / inhabitant / year; chicken 45 kg and pork 17 kg, in addition to the consumption of sheep and goats (very expressive in the Northeast and South), rabbits, other birds (turkeys, angolas, quails…), fish, shrimp and crustaceans ( increasingly produced on farms) and other animals.

The country produced 35.2 billion liters of milk (against 31 billion liters of ethanol); 4.1 billion dozens of eggs and 38.5 million tons of honey in 2015. It’s milk, dairy products, eggs and honey to make many cakes, pastas and sweets, in the homes of the largest sugar producer.

In 50 years, as a food importer, Brazil has become an agricultural power. During this period, the price of food fell by half and allowed the vast majority of the population access to healthy and diversified food and the eradication of hunger. This is the greatest social gain from agricultural modernization and has benefited, above all, the urban population. The country left the map of countries with food insecurity.

With the growth of the population and urban demands, what would have happened in the economy and society without this development of agriculture? Certainly, a succession of endless crises. Brazilian society was supposed to thank farmers every day for their modernization efforts and for everything they do for the country. The nation and its leaders must assume the promotion and defense of agriculture and farmers, with rationality and aiming at the national interest.

From 1990 to 2015, total agricultural exports exceeded $ 1 trillion and helped to ensure positive trade balances. The recently completed prospecting and business mission by seven countries in Asia, led by Minister Blairo Maggi, inaugurated an unprecedented new level of insertion of national agriculture in international trade with surprising positive results.

Asia now accounts for 45% of Brazilian agribusiness exports and China, alone, for a quarter of that amount. For almost a month, accompanied by a ministerial team and about 35 businessmen from 12 sectors of the agribusiness, this historic mission traveled to China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and India. Feeding the world is synonymous with feeding Asia. This requires entrepreneurship, innovation, public-private coordination and short- and long-term partnerships.

With China, a strategic partner for the future of Brazilian agriculture, new and mutual perspectives have been created for processing industries, trading companies and for investments in transport infrastructure, storage and basic industries.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, in partnership with the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex), has an ambitious goal: to move from a decreasing participation of 6.9% in international agricultural trade to 10%. And to be able, soon, to feed more than two billion people, with technology, sustainability, competence and competitiveness.