Brazil has grand plans to boost its reputation as a net food exporter, with a particular focus on increasing beef and chicken exports to China and Europe.
Agriculture, including livestock production, already accounts for more than 20 per cent of the country’s GDP, but with only 10 per cent of land being used, there is huge scope to grow.
Speaking to journalists in London about the trends driving the food and agribusiness sector, Roberto Jaguaribe, president of Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian trade and investment promotion agency, said as well as land, businesses had technology and innovation on their side.
“Take chicken for example, we are the most efficient producer in the world,” said Mr Jaguaribe.
“It takes an average of 2.2lb of feed to produce 1lb of chicken. In Brazil we use 1.6lb of feed and this is not because we use hormones.
“We have an abundance of water, area and technology.
“A Brazil chicken in the UK will have a lower carbon footprint than a chicken produced in the UK, even including transport.”
Brazil takes its environmental objectives seriously and has made great strides in recent years to undo the damage caused by widespread deforestation in the 1970s and 1980s.
It has also invested heavily in agricultural research and science focused on Brazilian conditions.
On Brexit, Mr Jaguaribe said while he believed the UK and the EU were stronger united, Brazil was keen to commence negotiations with Britain ‘when the time is right for both of us’.
Commenting on fears a US-UK trade deal could see food produced to lower standards imported into Britain, Mr Jaguaribe said he did not expect similar concerns with meat from Brazil.
“Brazil uses the same sanitary control standards as Europe,” he added.
“In addition to not using chlorine for chicken sanitisation, the use of hormones in beef production has been banned in Brazil for decades. Our industry can easily adapt and incorporate specific market requirements, allowing exports to more than 190 countries. Evidence of this is the fact Brazil has quickly become the largest global supplier of Halal meat.”
And does Brazil stand to benefit from a trade war between the US and China?
“No-one will benefit. China is the biggest producer in the world and the biggest trading partner of Brazil.
“Nothing can slow down China’s strategy to become a global superpower.”