Brazilian Landless Rural Workers Movement and agro-ecology

| Foreign Markets |

Social inequality is the grim norm in Brazil. The farming smallholders are one of the most underprivileged groups in the Brazilian society. Their farms were gradually taken over so that the land could be used for large scale soy and sugar cane plantations (sugar cane is used for fuel production in Brazil). In the search of employment, some of the farmers moved to urban areas; while others ended up in encampamentos, rural slums where the dwellers pass their time, waiting for land.

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Arab fertilizers take Brazil by the storm

| Foreign Markets |

Morocco, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are currently the leading providers of artificial fertilizers for Brazil. According to data published by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, in the first three quarters of 2013 the import of fertilizers grew by 41% in comparison to the same period in 2012. In dollars, this import growth was worth USD 1.1 billion.

Leaders in fertilizer sales

Morocco took the lead in the above-mentioned period. The trade grew by 19% from Q1, Q2, Q3 2012 to Q1, Q2, Q3 2013. The value of goods exported to Brazil was 933 million USD. Qatar took the second place with a spectacular growth by 268%. The goods sold by Qatar to Brazil were worth 325 million USD. Next in the ranking were Egypt (export worth 133 million USD), Tunis (96.49 million USD), Bahrain and the UAE (35 million USD) and Kuwait (32 million USD).

A change of direction

The fact that export to Brazil is growing in leaps and bounds results from demand for food in this huge country inhabited by nearly 200 million people, but there is another reason as well. Brazil took the market over from another major consumer of fertilizers, India, which limited the purchasing of this product. Due to unfavorable rupee exchange rate, the government in Delhi was forced to limit the subsidizing of imported phosphorous-based fertilizers. Consequently, global market prices fell and fertilizer manufacturers were forced to look for new markets.

Brazil’s needs

This country proved an excellent alternative to the manufacturers of fertilizers, especially those from Arab countries. Fertilizer sales grew by almost 65% from Q1, Q2, Q3 2012 to Q1, Q2, Q3 2013. From January to September 2013, Brazil imported 24% more fertilizers than in the same period of the previous year, 20.4 million tonnes in total, including 3.9 million tonnes manufactured in Arab countries.

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Drought in Brazil

| Foreign Markets |

Pele’s home country is a land of contrasts, including differences in weather conditions. One the one hand, a part of Brazil is plagued by floods, on the other hand the North-East regions suffer from acute shortages of water.

Estimating losses for the farmers

It has not rained for two years in some parts of this area. Such drought as the current one has not occurred for almost 50 years! Lack of rainwater impacts agricultural production, and the sugar cane plantations in particular. This part of the country accounts for 10% of Brazilian sugar cane production. Sadly, due to the drought crops have shrunk by one third. Cotton and maize plantations are also drying up. Cattle owners suffer as well, because animals die as a result of inadequate access to food and water.

Threats for the industry

Drought has brought about another kind of danger, with hydropower plants losing efficiency. The output threshold ensuring stable electricity supply is 34%. However, in late December the actual capacity was only 32%. Consequently, power supply may become interrupted, causing difficulties for industrial plants and households.

Individuals depend on water tanks

Water circulation in small towns relies on a network of traveling water dealers. Most towns and cities do not have water reserves, nor are there any waterworks. The resource is therefore provided by businesspeople who purchase water from private wells and distribute it in tanker trailers pulled by donkeys.

Challenge for the country

Brazil might appear to be immersed in World Cup preparations, there are other challenges for the government in Brasilia, however. One major issue is the shortage of water in the North-East states. Finding a way to aid the local community in this predicament would prove a real achievement for the politicians in power.

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Brazil in need of fertilizers

| Foreign Markets |

The largest Latin American country is one of the fastest-developing economies in the world. Agriculture is undergoing a technological revolution, which involves a growth of demand for mineral fertilizers.


Despite multi-billion dollar investments in the domestic fertilizer-chemical industry, Brazil remains the leading importer of products containing nutrients for cultivated plants. The country is one of the main exporters of food, but 70% of fertilizers bought by Brazilian clients is shipped from other countries.

Planning changes

Investment projects are currently drawn up to double phosphorous fertilizers production by 2023 and cut the imports of those products by half. The situation with NPK fertilizers is slightly different, with the plan to reduce imports to 59% of market demand in 2018 r. However, the demand from Brazilian farms is constantly growing and this proportion may start rising again, and reach c. 63% in 2023.

When it comes to nitrogen-based products, the proportion of imported goods may well remain as high as 93% for over a decade! Dilma Rousseff’s government is introducing various measures, including tax incentives, to encourage national enterprises and international companies to invest in fertilizer-chemical industry. And still, in the sector of mineral fertilizers, the foreign trade exchange deficit of Brazil is estimated at 33 billion USD in 2013.

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