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Country Briefs

  Brazil

Reference Date: 19-July-2021

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Initial forecast for 2021 maize production lowered due to dry weather conditions

  2. Exports of maize forecast below average in 2021/22 marketing year

  3. Prices of cereals higher year on year in June 2021

  4. Social assistance programmes extended in 2021 to support vulnerable households

Initial forecast for 2021 maize production lowered due to dry weather conditions

Harvesting of the 2021 main season maize crop is ongoing. Yields are expected at below‑average levels (VHI map) as reduced precipitation amounts from March to May and a cold spell in June adversely affected crops. The reduced yields lowered the initial production forecast that was pointing to a record output due to an all‑time high planted area, prompted by high prices of the grain. The 2021 aggregate maize production, including a below‑average minor season output that was harvested in the March‑May period, is officially anticipated at 93 million tonnes, about 5 percent higher the five‑year average.

The 2021 wheat crop is currently at emergence and tillering stages and vegetation conditions are favourable especially in the main producing states of Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul in the southern region. According to official estimates, the planted area was more than 20 percent higher than the five‑year average. Steadily increasing prices since 2020 have instigated an expansion in plantings for the second consecutive year, reversing the declining trend during the previous five years. Below‑average rainfall amounts are forecast in the August‑October period, which could potentially have negative effects on crop yields.

Harvesting of the 2021 paddy crop was been completed in June and production is officially estimated at slightly an above‑average level of 11.7 million tonnes. This is mainly the result of above‑average yields compensating for the low level of plantings, which have been steadily declining over the past 30 years as farmers have shifted to more remunerative maize and soybean crops.

Exports of maize forecast below average in 2021/22 marketing year

Exports of maize, the country’s major exportable cereal, are forecast at a below‑average level of 27 million tonnes in the 2021/22 marketing year (March/February), more than 25 percent below the high levels registered in the last two years. The expected decline in exports is mainly due to the reduced exportable surplus of maize in 2021. Exports of rice in 2021 (January/December) are anticipated at a near‑average level of 920 000 tonnes.

Prices of cereals higher year on year in June 2021

Prices of rice decreased steadily between April and June 2021 following the commercialization of the recent harvest. The year‑on‑year lower exports during the first half of 2021 also boosted domestic supplies. Following increases during the February‑May period, prices of maize started to seasonally decline in June. Similarly, favourable production prospects exerted downward pressure on prices of wheat grain. As of June 2021, prices of cereals were above their year‑earlier levels due to the strong domestic and foreign demand (maize and rice) and the elevated import costs (wheat).

Social assistance programmes extended in 2021 to support vulnerable households

According to FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2021, the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the total population increased from 18.3 percent in 2014‑2016 to 23.5 percent in 2018‑2020. The worsening of food security is mainly due to the economic downturn amid the COVID‑19 pandemic in 2020, when the Gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by 5.3 percent.

To mitigate the adverse impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on households, the government has extended the “Auxílio emergencial” programme, which delivers seven grants of an average BRL 250 (about USD 45) from January to October 2021. This programme targets 40 million low income households who were affected by the COVID‑19 pandemic. While the traditional cash transfer programme “Bolsa Familia” continues to be in force, beneficiaries who are eligible for both programmes would benefit from only one programme that provides a greater amount of grant. The “Bolsa Familia” delivers a monthly grant of an average BRL 190 (about USD 35) to 14 million households.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.