Mar 14, 2022
Brazil Announces National Fertilizer Plan
Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.
Last Friday, the Brazilian government announced Brazil's National Fertilizer Plan (PNF). Making the announcement were President Jair Bolsonaro, Minister of Agriculture, Tereza Cristina, Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, Minister of the Economy, Paulo Guedes, and Special Secretary for Strategic Interest for the President of the Republic, Flavio Rocha. The list of the attendees illustrates how important fertilizers are taken in Brazil.
Currently, Brazil imports 85% of its fertilizer needs and the goal of the plan is to reduce that to 45% by 2050 while at the same time doubling the amount of fertilizers used. They hope to accomplish that goal by increasing domestic production, more efficient use of fertilizers, new technologies, use of mineral inputs, innovation, and environmental sustainability.
The war in Ukraine has instantly put fertilizer availability front-and-center in Brazil because Russia is Brazil's largest supplier of fertilizers and the concern is that sanctions on Russia and Belarus could put fertilizers from those two countries off limits for Brazilian importers.
Facts concerning Brazil's fertilizer sector include:
- Brazil is the world's fourth largest consumer of fertilizers responsible for 8% of total use.
- 85% of Brazil's fertilizers are imported.
- The five biggest suppliers are Russia, China, Canada, Morocco, and Belarus.
- Potassium accounts for 38% of the total fertilizers used in Brazil, phosphorus accounts for 33%, and nitrogen accounts for 29%.
- Russia accounts for 26% of Brazil's potassium imports, 21% of the nitrogen, and 15% of the phosphorus.
- Countries in the Middle East collectively account for 26% of Brazil's fertilizer imports.
- Brazil imports 95% of its nitrogen, 91% of its potassium, and 75% of its phosphorus.
- Brazilian crops that demand the most fertilizers are soybeans, corn, and sugarcane. Combined these crops account for 73% of the fertilizers used in Brazil.
- The Brazilian Agricultural Research Service, Emprapa, feels Brazilian farmers could reduce their fertilizer use 20% during the 2022/23 growing season with improved agricultural practices. They will hold a series of workshops throughout Brazil over the next several months to educate farmers on more efficient use of fertilizers.
- Brazil is the fourth largest producer of grain in the word (soybeans, corn, rice, wheat, and barley) responsible for 7.8% of the world's production.
Brazil is desperately looking for additional sources of fertilizers from Canada, Middle East, Chile, etc. Brazil's Minister of Agriculture will travel to Canada this week to discuss additional fertilizer imports from Canada.
On the international front, the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture has joined with other agricultural ministers from South America to petition the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to exempt food and fertilizers from international sections
The Agricultural Commission of the Brazilian Congress held open hearing last week to debate the best way to reduce the countries dependence on imported fertilizers. It was a heated debate with representatives from agricultural areas stressing how important agriculture is to Brazil's economy with representatives from indigenous areas emphasizing indigenous rights and potential environmental degradation from additional mineral extraction.