Abrapa receives a group of Chinese agricultural input manufacturers and debates the interdependence between the two countries

The aim of the meeting was to draw the federal government's attention to the speed of Chinese technological evolution

08.08.2023 | 15:17 (UTC -3)
Catarina Guedes, Cultivar edition

At the beginning of August, a group made up of 40 Chinese industrialists, producers of pesticides and agricultural fertilizers, was in Brazil, on a mission supported by the Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (Abrapa), participating in the 70st China-Brazil Meeting in favor of Food and Fiber Production. The event took place in Brasília, with the participation of representatives from the Federal Government, the Brazilian Association of Soy Producers (Aprosoja) and the Brazilian Association of Corn Producers (Abramilho). At the center of the debates, the interdependence between the two countries - Brazil as one of the main food suppliers for the Chinese market and China as the origin of more than XNUMX% of the active ingredients in pesticides and fertilizers used in Brazilian agriculture.

The objective of the meeting was to draw the federal government's attention to the speed of Chinese technological evolution, in the production of new molecules, and the urgent need to modernize the Brazilian regulatory system, so that the country can take advantage of innovations, including bioinputs. . After the lectures, in Brasília, the businesspeople traveled to the municipality of Cristalina (GO), to follow the cotton harvest and visit the fiber processing and classification structures, at Fazenda Pamplona, ​​owned by the SLC Agrícola Group. Visitors came to the country mobilized by two associations, the China Crop Protection Industry Association (CCPIA) and the China Phosphate and Compound Fertilizer Industry Association (CPFIA).

Cooperation

“China is Brazil's largest trading partner and, for cotton, represents our main consumer market. Fiber is a crop that requires many technologies in inputs, mainly because of the cotton boll weevil, its main pest. We need to advance in access to the most modern and sustainable products that China makes available to us. For this, we need an adequate legal framework”, said the president of Abrapa, remembering that, in the same week, the cotton growers association concluded the Buyers Mission 2023, with representatives of the textile industry from eight destination countries for Brazilian cotton, among the which, China. “We want to increase our market share in these countries, and, in addition to volume, we need to guarantee cotton in line with the demand for more environmentally friendly products. What we see on the horizon, in Chinese research and development, beckons us very positively,” he said.

For Carlos Goulart, Secretary of Agricultural Defense at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mapa), who, on the occasion, represented Minister Carlos Fávaro, the event showed the relevance of the agricultural inputs sector for Brazilian agriculture. “We are the largest supplier of food to China, which, in turn, is the main supplier of agricultural inputs to Brazil. It is a very important cooperation, so it is essential that the Chinese government understands the Brazilian regulatory system. Including their ability to invest in Brazil, providing inputs that are transformed into food and returned in a diverse range. It’s a very interesting win-win system,” he pondered.

Fertilizers

Responsible, in the current harvest, for the highest cotton production cost in history - a reflection of the war in Ukraine -, fertilizers were also under debate at the meeting with Chinese industrialists. The general coordinator of fertilizers, inoculants and correctives at the Department of Plant Health and Agricultural Inputs of Mapa, Henrique Bley, spoke about the National Fertilizer Plan, which aims to reduce Brazilian dependence on these inputs by 2050. According to Bley, even so , China will continue to be an important supplier.

“Brazil imports 93% of the nitrogen it uses and has an installed capacity to produce up to 17 times what it consumes. So, even if we had national production at full capacity, with supply of natural gas and petroleum gas, to guarantee this production, with the increase in consumption, we will maintain imports at current levels, in terms of quantity, and we can even increase during this period,” he said.

He adds that Brazil imports 70% of the phosphate it consumes and would have the capacity to produce the same percentage, in terms of mineral reserves, but this would require a lot of mining investment in processing the rock. “In nitrogen and phosphates, even if there is a large investment to increase national production capacity, trade with China would still remain at current levels or even increase, according to the growth scenario of Brazilian agriculture”, he concluded.

According to Jones Yasuda, from the company Agrilean, which led the event's programming, post-pandemic, great progress in research and product development in China has already been noted. “Innovative molecules that, in number, are already equivalent to the sum of all the molecules offered by large multinationals. We cannot lose these opportunities due to a lag in our regulatory system”, warned Yasuda.

Mosaic Biosciences March 2024