By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s government announced measures to assist the transport of what is expected to be a record grain harvest in the country in the 2014-2015 season, including incentives for ports located in the Northern part of the country and improvements in roads so that production does not have to go to Southern ports such as Santos or Paranaguá to be shipped abroad.
“We had an increase of five percent in general in our production, with an increase of eleven percent in soybean alone and most of the soybean production goes abroad,” said new Agriculture, Livestock and Supply Minister Katia Abreu on Tuesday, January 13th, during a press conference.
“But due to last year’s successful experience, the Ports Department and the Ministry of Transports are much more prepared to improve the transport [of grains], independently of the growth [in harvest],” Abreu added.
With a greater part of Brazil’s agricultural production concentrated in the Center-West region of the country (42 percent), measures are being taken to improve the transport of grains from the ports of Belem (Pará state) and Itaqui (Maranhão), including the pavement of some roads. Today half (fifty percent) of Brazil’s grains are exported through the ports of Santos (São Paulo) and Paranaguá (Paraná), which significantly increases transport costs and is much more time-consuming.
“If we took soybean from Sorriso (Mato Grosso state) through the Arco Norte (transport corridor between Mato Grosso, Rondonia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins and Maranhão) we would reduce the cost of [goods] going through the Port of Paranaguá from R$260/R$270 to R$206/R$207 per ton,” said Abreu. She added that since not all production is exported, the lower the transportation costs, the cheaper the products will be for the Brazilian population.
Earlier this week, Brazil’s government agency Conab (National Supply Company) released its fourth grain survey showing that the production of grains in Brazil for the 2014/2015 season should be of approximately 202.18 million tons. According to the document, the volume is 4.5 percent superior to last year’s harvest.