Brazil Look To Increase Wheat Acres in 2009

The Brazilian minister of Agriculture, Reinhold Stephanes, believes that the Brazilian wheat production should grow by 10% this year, and may cater to as much as 60% of domestic demand.

The state of Parana accounts for more than 50% of national production. According to the secretary of Agriculture of the state, Valter Bianchinni, the state government, in partnership with the Bank of Brazil, will ensure that there will be no shortage of funds to wheat farmers, and that a 5% growth in planted area is expected.

"If the weather helps, then Parana is going to have as good a crop as last year's, which yielded 3.2 million tonnes, or even a bit more, at 3.5 million tonnes, due to the larger planted area," Bianchinni told Agencia Brasil.

Brazil's wheat crop has grown steadily in the last few years, from just 2.3 million tonnes in 2006, to 4.1 million tonnes in 2007 and around 6 million tonnes in 2008.

The need for Brazil to produce more wheat has increased, especially after Argentina, the country's main supplier, had a drastic reduction in its production in 2008.

Brazil will probably need to import over 4 million tonnes this year, a volume that is not going to be fully supplied by Argentina, and has recently announced a trade agreement to take wheat from Russia in exchange for soy.

Planting in Parana state, which accounts for 54% of national production, takes place in April/May and the harvest is September through to the end on November. The other main producing state in the country is Rio Grande do Sul, which accounts for around 38% of output, planting later in the year May/June for harvest October/December.