Main ingredient of pãozinho (crusty French bun), present on the tables of most Brazilian households, wheat is one of the products for which Brazil depends on imports the most. This scenario, however, may start to change beginning next year.
According to the second survey of the 2008/2009 grain crop, disclosed this Thursday, November 6, by Brazil's National Food Supply Company (Conab), national output should grow 49.6%, totaling 5.72 million tons.
Despite the ongoing credit contraction, which was made worse by the world financial crisis and the falling prices of some commodities, the Conab explains that, at the time of planting, wheat farmers had attractive market prices and a higher minimum price ensured by the federal government.
As a result of this favorable conjuncture, planted area was expanded by 31.4%, especially in the Southern region of the country, which is the leading producer region in Brazil.
At the end of the harvesting period, should Conab's figures prove true, then the country should go from producing the equivalent to 37% of total domestic consumption up to almost 54% in the next cycle. Domestic consumption is projected to be 10.7 million tons, and the deficit, of around 5 million tons, should be imported mainly from Argentina.
As the neighboring country is undergoing economic turmoil and has not been able to meet some of its obligations regarding the product this year already, the Brazilian minister of Agriculture, Reinhold Stephanes, has signaled with intentions of making the country self-sufficient in wheat production.
In April, the government launched the National Wheat Plan, which provided for an increase in the value of financing and of credit specifically turned to the sector and, in keeping with the rising price of the product in the global market, encouraged an expansion of planted area.
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