Sep 06, 2023

Brazil to Convert 40 mha (98.8 mac) of Pasture to Crops in 10 Years

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

At the recent opening of the Tenth Brazilian Fertilizer Congress, Brazil's Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Favaro, laid out the government's plan to convert 40 million hectares of Brazilian pastures (98.8 million acres) to crop production over the next ten years and to reduce Brazil's dependency on imported fertilizers.

The Brazilian agricultural research service, Embrapa, has been promoting the conversion of degraded pastures to crop production as a way to increase crop production while reducing the need for deforestation. Environmental activists and Brazil's European customers support the need to be more productive with existing land.

To achieve such a goal, the Minister reiterated the need for Brazil to reduce its dependence on imported fertilizers. Brazil is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world and a leading exporter of soybeans and corn as well as one of the largest producers of sustainable food, yet 85% of its fertilizers are imported. In addition to importing fertilizers, 90% of the technology in the fertilizer sector is imported as well.

The Minister outlined several steps in coordination with Embrapa, the National Development Bank (BNDES), and the Bank of Brasil that are designed to reduce fertilizer imports. A new working group has been established called the Center for Fertilizer Excellence which will coordinate with Embrapa to establish a research network to analyze 50 new fertilizer and plant nutrition technologies over the next three years.

In May of this year, President Lula initiated the National Fertilizer and Plant Nutrition Counsel (Confert) to develop public policies to reduce dependence on imported fertilizers and to increase competition to develop new fertilizer sources. In November of this year, the President will initiate a new National Fertilizer Plan (PNF).

The Ministry of Agriculture will work with other Ministries to reduce bureaucracy for developing, licensing, and distributing new mineral fertilizers.