Coffee experts fear for Brazil harvest

September 17, 2014

Emiko Terazono – Financial Times, 09/07/2014

Divining the health of branches, floral buds and roots of coffee trees in Brazil has become key to millions of dollars being made or lost after a devastating drought hit the country at the start of the year. Recent discussions among roasters, analysts and hedge fund managers have focused on coffee agronomy, says Keith Flury, head of research at Volcafe, the coffee division of commodities traders ED & F Man.

“Given the unprecedented drought, industry and trade have had to increase knowledge about moisture deficits and the impacts on plants,” he says.

Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world, accounting for about 35 per cent of all output. In the past, the main weather problems for the country’s coffee growers have been frosts – few farmers and traders have had to deal with the consequences of heat and dryness.

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Factbox: Marina Silva’s policy proposals for Brazil

September 3, 2014

Anthony Boadle and Paul Simao – Reuters, 08/30/2014

Environmentalist Marina Silva unveiled her campaign platform for Brazil’s Oct. 5 presidential election on Friday, boosted by government data that showed the economy had fallen into a recession in the first half of this year.

Following are her main policy proposals aimed at restoring business confidence and investment in Brazil and putting the country on a path to sustainable growth:

ECONOMY: Return to the basic tripod of policies that gave Brazil financial stability a decade and a half ago: fiscal discipline, inflation targeting and a floating exchange rate, ending central bank intervention that has overvalued the real currency.

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Brazil sugar sector poised for ‘wave of mergers’

July 21, 2014

Agrimoney, 7/21/2014

A leading sugar banker cautioned over this year’s drought in Brazil’s Centre South region hitting cane crops in 2015-16 too as he forecast a wave of mergers among mills, their financial prospects further undermined by the crop downturn.

Alexandre Figliolino, director at Banco Itau BBA, said that the cane harvest in Brazil’s Centre South, responsible for 90% of the domestic crop, could fall to 550m tonnes this season, following the drought which hit the region early in the year.

The forecast, down from 596m tonnes in 2013-14, compares with an estimate of 560m tonnes from Datagro and 575m tonnes from Kingsman, although Canaplan has a forecast of 540m tonnes.

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Kenya: Brazil’s cultural similarities enhance trade

August 5, 2013

Bernard Ayieko – All Africa, 08/05/2013

The Second Brazil in Eastern Africa Expo which was held in Nairobi from July 24 to July 25 underscored the need to build business relations between investors of the two regions.

The theme of the expo, ‘Bridging the Missing Link’, indicated that the existing trade links could be strengthened. What better way to do this than to hold a multi-sectoral expo showcasing the evolution of Brazilian technology in the areas of agricultural machinery and implements, industrial equipment, renewable energy, building and consumer goods.

More than 60 Brazilian companies and institutions exhibited during the three-day event.

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Agriculture and food security: Brazil’s chance to assume leadership among the BRICS?

June 11, 2013

Oliver Stuenkel – Post-Western World, 06/09/2013

The stark differences between Brazil’s and India’s agricultural productivity and their differing positions during trade negotiations in the past years are an often used argument of why South-South cooperation will always be an elusive dream. And indeed, India has often been accused of being a nay-sayer in the realm of agriculture, even by its fellow emerging powers.

It may then come as a surprise that agriculture and food security are among the first topics that emerged when the BRIC grouping began to discuss ways to cooperate. In fact, during the first BRIC Leaders Summit in 2009 in Yekaterinburg, a separate declaration on food security was issued, underlining the importance of the matter.

In the document, the BRICs professed to be “committed to opposing protectionism, establishing a just and reasonable international trade regime for agricultural products, and giving farmers from developing countries incentives to engage in agricultural production.” The 2-page document argues that “the developed and developing countries should address the food security issue according to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility”, a concept that would become a trademark of future BRICS declarations, particularly in the field climate change. Finally, the BRICs signaled their interest in cooperating by “sharing the best practices of operating successful public distribution programmes.”

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Exclusive – Brazil’s Rousseff sides with farmers in Indian land fight

May 15, 2013

Brian Winters, Caroline Stauffer – Reuters, 05/14/2013

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has ordered her government to stop confiscating farmland to create new Indian reservations, government officials say, a policy reversal with major implications for one of the world’s top agricultural producers.

Brazil has in recent decades set aside about 13 percent of its territory for indigenous tribes. Vast additional areas, including prime territory for the production of soy, beef, sugar and other commodities, are under consideration for possible transfer.

That policy has been hailed as one of the world’s most progressive but had caused mounting clashes in recent months as thousands of farmers were evicted from land they had been cultivating, in some cases for decades.

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The queen of the cowboys

April 29, 2013

Mac Margolis – Newsweek, 04/29/2013

The Brazilian cerrado is no place for a tenderfoot. In the dry season in Aliança, the township just below the Amazon basin where Kátia Abreu farms, a withering sun leaves the land parched and choked in dust. A few months later, from November to May, downpours lash the dirt into a moonscape of potholes and mud. Many planters have stumbled here, and their tumbledown plots are strewn like headstones along the savanna. But for those who endure, fortunes can bloom. Once this sparsely peopled flatland was carpeted by niggardly scrub, home to jaguars and braces of toucans. Now corn, cotton, and soybeans grow on plantations the size of American counties, and cowboys in Land Rovers mind herds of bleached Nelore beef cattle that stretch to the horizon. The cerrado is the Western Hemisphere’s newest agricultural frontier, and no one rides taller here than Abreu.

She is not the biggest landowner or even remotely the richest (that title belongs to Blairo Maggi, the agrimogul who is the world’s largest single producer of soybeans). But this 51-year-old rancher’s widow turned land baroness, then national lawmaker, has left her brand on this Latin American powerhouse, provoking admiration, praise, and fierce opposition in competing measures. Abreu and her two sons tend a formidable stretch of the cerrado—three farms of soybeans and sorghum and 12,000 head of cattle in Tocantins, Brazil’s newest state and part of the planet’s emerging breadbasket. “It’s hard to say where she doesn’t have land,” said one government employee in Palmas, the state capital, quickly asking not to be named.

Abreu is no pampered heiress. Since 1987, when a plane crash killed her husband and nearly broke her, she has had to fend for herself. “I knew nothing about ranching,” she said. “But I am stubborn and don’t give up.” Pride and fear of failure did the rest. She cropped her hair to look less girlish and took care never to cry in front of the farmhands, sobbing only to herself at night. Ever since, the reluctant rancher has managed to command respect, authority, and a loyal following in the baritone world of cattle, crops, and rural rainmakers.

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