Brazil's agricultural export to reach record-high level in 2010

Brazil expects its agricultural export to achieve a record-high level in 2010, Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi told a press conference Thursday.

Rossi said he expected the annual export this year to surpass the record-high 71.4 billion U.S. dollars registered in 2008, despite many severe natural disasters.

This year's crop is also expected to surpass the record-high 147 million tons registered in 2009. The country is currently responsible for about one quarter of the world's agricultural trade, he said, and intends to increase that share to one third of the global trade in 10 years.

The Brazilian agricultural sector is currently doing very well, breaking several production records and managing to reach self-sufficiency in almost all products, except for wheat, he said.

Brazil, the world's leading exporter of several products, has one of the largest agricultural sectors in the world, the agriculture minister said.

"The agricultural sector is responsible for 26 percent of Brazil's GDP, 42 percent of the exports and 40 percent of the employment," he said. "It is a very important sector."

Rossi said the achievement of Brazilian agriculture lies in an increase of productivity and efficiency. The country managed to expand its agricultural production by 152 percent in the past 20 years, while the cultivated area increased only 25 percent during the same period.

According to him, several factors helped achieve those figures, such as 116 billion reais (65.5 billion U.S. dollars) in government funding this year, the efforts of businessmen, and technological advances during the recent years.

In response to environmental concerns, he said the government has undertaken several initiatives to increase agricultural production without damaging Brazil's forests.

"For the first time in Brazil, we established a specific program to stimulate the agricultural production and environment preservation," Rossi said. "Brazil is the only country in the world that can double its agricultural production without cutting down a tree."

[Source: Xinhua, Río de Janeiro, 13Aug10]

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