Officials: A lot of work to fix Brazil infrastructure issues

by Eric Schroeder
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ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — It will be another 20 years before the grain infrastructure inside of Brazil is manageable, said Daniel Furlan Amaral, chief economist of Abiove, Brazil’s oilseeds association.

According to an article on Reuters, Furlan told participants at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 94th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum on Feb. 22 that despite spending billions on infrastructure in the country it will still be many years before road, rail and waterway bottlenecks that constrict agricultural exports in Brazil are resolved.

Specifically, the transportation networks that feed the ports still need work, he said.

“Brazil still has an inadequate transportation matrix,” Furlan said. “We need a lot more investments in waterways and rails.”

Clay Hamilton, minister counselor of the American Embassy, USDA, Office of Agricultural Affairs in Brasilia, Brazil, provided a similar outlook on the situation, according to the Reuters article.

Hamilton indicated that roads in some parts of Brazil that connect producing regions to ports are still not paved, Reuters said.

Hamilton and Furlan were part of an international markets and trade panel at the Ag Outlook Forum that examined Brazil’s outlook to 2040. They were joined by Roberto Rodrigues, Brazilian producer and coordinator for the Getulio Vargas Foundation Agribusiness Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Luis Ribera, associate professor and extension economist at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S.

Earlier this year the Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA issued a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report showing Brazil’s infrastructure lags behind other countries.

“Many of its main grain transport roads are still partially unpaved and very few railways are available for agricultural transport,” the USDA noted in the report. “Improvements to infrastructure are slowly being made and transportation costs have dropped in recent years, but there are still many areas that need to be improved for Brazil’s exports to remain competitive, especially in Brazil’s north and center-west regions.”

Brazil will need to improve its infrastructure if it wants to capitalize on record crop levels. According to the USDA, Brazil produced approximately 98.5 million tonnes of corn and 114 million tonnes of soybeans during 2016-17, record levels for both crops.

 

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