Federal Government of Brazil : Brazil and Germany discuss agricultural cooperation and food security

Brazil’s role in providing food for the world was highlighted by the German Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Ilse Aigner, during a meeting with Minister Mendes Ribeiro Filho this Monday morning (August 27). “Food security is one of the central problems facing the world today and will certainly become even more important in the coming years. Brazil plays the role of a ‘traffic light’ in international agricultural policy,” said Ilse Aigner.

Mendes Ribeiro Filho stressed that although Brazil has steadily increased food production, it continues to work to meet the challenges ahead. “We have worked in cooperation with the Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research (Embrapa), which is essential in order for production to increase. This is a task for all of us. Therefore, it is important to maintain a close relationship with Germany. The more interconnected we become, the more we will do,” he stated.

The German minister came to Brazil with the intention of strengthening relations in cooperative areas, paying particular attention to a policy of avoiding post-harvest food losses. Trilateral cooperative projects involving Brazil, Germany and African countries should also be entered into, with the promotion of cooperatives in Kenya. Exchange among researchers in agriculture is another point of interest to Germany. On the Brazilian side, the initiative has already begun to be put into operation with the installation of a virtual laboratory in the European country. “Ten percent of my department’s budget is invested in research. We want to take a few more steps to improve relationships with Brazilian researchers,” said Ilse Aigner.

Invitations
Brazil has again been invited to participate in the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, which will be held in Berlin in January 2013. The main topic will be investment in agriculture, particularly in the private financing of small farmers, seeking cooperation between the public and private sectors in various different countries. The Minister Ilse Aigner also strengthened the call for Brazil to be the anchor country, theme of the largest food and beverage fair in the world, Anuga, in October 2013.

Trade
Agricultural exports to Germany totaled US$ 3.5 billion in 2011 and imports closed at US$ 414.1 million. Coffee is one of the main products that help to tilt the trade balance in Brazil’s favor. The minister said that procedures will be developed to facilitate trade between the two countries.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture

 

Self sustainability in Brazil: A Case in Sao Paulo

 

Self sustainability in Brazil as a concept has become fashionable in recent years. Numerous projects within and outside Brazil cite self sustainability as an important factor in decision making right from the management of organizations, municipalities, states and even at the national level. However, why all this attention toward self-sustainability?

 

Half of all humanity now lives in cities. In 2030, 60% of all people will live in urban regions and, in 2050, the total should be 70%. In Brazil, the urban population will reach 85%.

So, as one can see, a number of new challenges arise for the urban population in all regions of the world. One of the most important issues that arise in obtaining self sustainability is obtaining a social and economic growth without negatively affecting the environment in which we live.

More than protecting the environment, self sustainability also involves seeking to improve the quality of life of citizens around the world. Organizations and municipalities must seek alternatives to improve the quality of life through actions aimed at facilitating the movement of populations in cities, improve access to basic services like health and education and make urban planning that takes into account the impact these actions will have on the environment, avoiding degrading it (since it implies the possibility of affecting the quality of soil, water and air in the cities).

Thus, self sustainability, more than a word in vogue, is something that needs to be implemented for the future of humanity. It is certainly not an easy job, but it also need not be necessarily sought through “great deeds”. Small projects, focused on specific areas and well implemented, can be the solution for a better future.

In Sao Paulo nearly 140 thousand properties are run by energy generated in the city dumps. The plants installed in landfills have a gas drainage system that allow the collection of biogas, which consists of methane, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (steam), among others that later generate enough energy to power generation to nearly 600 thousand inhabitants.

Another case in São Paulo is the reuse of the crushed sugarcane. As is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, can be reused for the manufacture of paper and even for manufacturing cement. Not to mention, it generates power for the mills themselves, making them sustainable, and can be used in the manufacture of animal food.

Finally, another Brazilian case is Holambra, with just over 7000 inhabitants. This city is being built to resemble a condominium with federal funds for low-income people in the region. It is being planned to build schools, encourage the use of bicycles (avoiding the use of public transport), deployment of wireless Internet and also an attempt to reduce pollution in the city.

As it can be seen, one can see a number of good examples right in the state of Sao Paulo, which hosts one of the most populated cities in the world. It’s just a question of mobilization of government, society, communities and companies before we achieve self sustainability so that it is no more a fad, but a way of life.

Source: Rant Political

South America’s Demographic Future

Summary

 

South America is on the cusp of political, economic and social challenges spawned by demographic changes. The two largest economies in the region, Brazil and Argentina, will have to deal with increasing budgetary pressures resulting from the aging of their populations. Countries in the region also will face the challenge of attracting more capital to create jobs for their growing workforces. In the longer term, the relative growth of Argentina’s population will challenge Brazil’s regional leadership.

 

Analysis

For several decades, countries in Europe and Northeast Asia have seen their populations aging. Low birthrates combined with high life expectancy have caused populations in these countries to age significantly. South America will face a similar process in the coming decades.

Numerous factors contribute to falling birthrates. As the bulk of countries’ rural populations move to the city, traditional social structures break down. Access to education and the labor market leads women to postpone having children, and the higher cost of rearing children in urban and industrial environments encourages having fewer children. In cities, young people typically only enter the labor market after finishing their education, something that usually takes at least 20 years. Increased life expectancy results from a combination of factors. These include improved healthcare systems and generally improved living standards.

To varying extents, all countries in South America have experienced these processes in the past 50 years. The region has experienced urbanization and economic modernization, which affects social structures in most countries.

Still, South America remains considerably younger than Europe. It has an average of 35 people over 65 years old for every 100 people under 15. By contrast, Europe has some 170 elderly people for every 100 young people. But South America is catching up.

 

Countries like Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have had birthrates below the replacement level — 2.1, the number of children per woman needed to maintain a stable level of population — for almost a decade, while Argentina is currently at the replacement level. Other countries, such as Colombia, Venezuela, Paraguay and Peru, are still above replacement level, but their birthrates are falling fast. At the same time, life expectancy has grown dramatically throughout the region and will continue to do so.

This will have two major consequences. First, South America is projected to reach its population peak by mid-century, at which point its population will begin to decline. Second, there will be more elderly people than young people by the mid-2030s in Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, by the mid-2040s in Argentina and by 2050 in the rest of the region.

Brazil vs. Argentina

Birthrates have fallen considerably in Brazil and Argentina. The decline has been particularly sharp in Brazil, which has experienced more dramatic economic and social change than Argentina.

Argentina has a longer tradition of urban life. This means that Argentina has had relatively low birthrates for most of the past century compared to other developing nations, and the decline in birthrates has been slower and from a lower ceiling. Fertility rates fell steadily between the mid-1980s and the early 2000s, when the country experienced rapid economic liberalization, but have somewhat stabilized since then due to a series of government policies benefitting low-income families.

For its part, Brazil experienced an accelerated process of urbanization in the second half of the century. Birthrates have plummeted in Brazil while life expectancy has had a spectacular increase, rising by 19 years in only half a century. As a result of both processes, the percent of Brazil’s population that is elderly has more than doubled during that period, from only 3.19 percent of the total population to 7.19 percent.

The decline in births tracks an increase in the percentage of Brazilian women participating in the labor force, a figure that rose from one-fifth in the early 1970s to almost two-thirds in 2009. As more Brazilian women received educations and entered the labor force, they postponed having children and the total number of children they had declined.

Income and education levels also grew significantly in Brazil in the second half of the last century. In 1970, one-third of the Brazilian population was illiterate. The rate dropped below 10 percent in 2010. Urbanization rates also skyrocketed during that period, with the percentage of Brazilians living in cities rising from 36 percent of the total population in 1950 to 84.4 percent in 2010.

During the same period, Argentina moved from 65 percent urban dwellers to 91 percent urban dwellers. Because of Argentina’s overwhelmingly urban population, Argentines have high average access to their universal health care system. Life expectancy has increased from 65 to 75 since 1960 (the second-highest increase in South America after Uruguay). Argentines are living longer and getting older, with the share of the population above 65 doubling in the past 50 years from 5 percent to 10 percent of the total.

By contrast, Paraguay and Bolivia, two of the smallest economies on the continent, still have fertility rates well above the replacement level. These are still largely traditional rural agrarian populations, where life expectancy, access to health care and female access to education and participation in the labor force are lower on average than in the region’s more developed countries. However, fertility rates are still falling.

The Demographic Bonus Ahead

South America will have a growing workforce for the next two decades. Life expectancy in the region grew at a faster rate than the decline in fertility rates. At present, two-thirds of the population in South America is of working age. This means that the continent’s already large stock of working age people will continue to grow for two decades before beginning to shrink. In “younger” countries such as Bolivia or Paraguay, this so-called “demographic bonus” will last even longer. As a result, the economies of the region have room for further growth both in absolute and relative size, especially compared to the shrinking population and economies in most of the developed world.

Obstacles in certain areas lie ahead. One of these is the price of education and health care. If the South American countries fail to properly train their expanding workforces, their economies could become less productive and less competitive. Brazil and Argentina have free education systems, permitting them to educate the thousands of people who enter the labor market each year. But free education alone will not be enough, since these countries will also have to address the quality of their schools and universities. Recently, the quality of secondary education in Argentina and Brazil ranked below the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development average.

The cost of maintaining education and health systems will put Argentina and Brazil under growing budgetary pressures. Aging populations will exacerbate health care costs and will bring increased pension costs, with fewer young people to cover these costs.

Fiscal pressures on the two largest states in South America are liable to reach a maximum around the 2040s, when the current cohorts of young workers start to retire. The region will therefore need to reduce the government role in social policies as a result of declining income and increasing costs. As in Europe, attempts to dismantle the welfare system will be politically difficult, testing the ability of these countries to adapt to demographic change.

The smaller countries in the region will have problems of their own. Chile and Uruguay, the two “oldest” countries in South America, will be the first to be forced to adjust their policies to the aging of their populations. “Young” countries like Bolivia and Peru will have to find a way to incorporate their increasingly large masses of working-age populations into the labor market. These countries will need more capital and better infrastructure to generate more employment for these new waves of workers. Otherwise, the youngest countries in the region are likely to face greater social unrest.

An additional effect of demographic change will be the increasing competition for workers. Wealthier Argentina and Brazil will draw non-skilled workers from Bolivia, Peru or Paraguay and mid- to high-skilled workers from Colombia or Venezuela. Argentina and Brazil have a long tradition of immigration — and large territories — so the arrival of foreign workers is likely to create less political and social tensions than it would in places like Europe.

But there will be competition for South American workers abroad, too. South America will reach the peak of its workforce at the same time that the working-age sector in Europe will be contracting. Countries with higher levels of education, such as Argentina and Brazil, will see high-skilled workers drawn to higher wages in Europe and the United States, creating a potential brain drain.

However, the need for additional capital in South America could see the continent’s countries enhance their economic prospects by liberalizing their economies to attract private domestic and foreign investment. This process could see Bolivia, Venezuela and Argentina change their current policy of nationalizing foreign-owned companies.

Over the medium term, demographic change will not affect Brazil’s position as South America’s regional leader. Brazil will remain the largest economy and the most populous country in the region, and its labor market will continue to expand in the next two decades. The need to create jobs for a growing number of workers is likely to make Brazil further internationalize its economy in a bid to attract foreign investment and boost its exports. This is likely to make Brazil more assertive in the international arena. Budgetary pressures resulting from its aging population will test Brazil’s economy and politics, however.

Over the long term, the population of Argentina will continue to grow after Brazil reaches its population peak and begins to decline. This will increase the relative economic weight of Argentina in the region, both as a consumer and as an export market. Even if Argentina’s economy remains considerably smaller than the Brazilian economy in absolute terms, demographic change in both countries will give Argentina additional tools in its competition with Brazil for political dominance in South America.

Source: Stratfor

Analysts see investments in Brazil, other arable lands increasing during U.S. drought

PR Newswire

BOSTON, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — As the U.S. Corn Belt continues to experience extremely hot temperatures and drought, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the expansion of emergency grazing on 3.8 million acres of conservation land. The expansion is intended to provide greater relief to U.S. livestock producers dealing with shortages of hay and pastureland. More than half (50.3 percent) of all counties in the United States have been declared disaster areas in 2012, primarily due to drought.

Agriculture investment consultants, such as HighQuest Partners LLC, (http://www.highquestpartners.com) are closely watching the impact that the prolonged drought is likely to have on global corn and soybean carry outs, and the incentive it is creating for increased double cropping in countries such as Brazil.

“While U.S. farmers may be cautious about buying additional farmland, the drought in the U.S. may be bullish for farmland values in areas of the world not impacted.  The reduced crop puts pressure on crop inventory carry out which increases prices,” said Philippe de Laperouse, Director of HighQuest Partners’ Global Food and Agribusiness Practice in St. Louis. “The drought has exacerbated the commodity supply for food, feed and fuel consumption markets in the U.S., coupled with government requirements for ethanol, and demand in China and other developing populations.”

Laperouse said while Brazil continues to hold promise as a long-term opportunity for investors, large-scale investors have been held at bay because of the government’s restrictive interpretation of the law for large-scale foreign investment in farmland.

Note:
Philippe de Laperouse, along with other industry experts, will be available September 17-19 in New Orleans for the 7th Annual Soy & Grain Trade Summit. The event brings together hundreds of international agricultural commoditybuyers and sellers in a single venue for on-the-spot trading, making this the annual event that attracts the largest range of global leaders in oilseed and grain production as well as processing and trade.  www.soyandgraintrade.com.

In addition, Laperouse, and other investment experts, will speak on Agriculture as an Emerging Asset Class at the company’s Global AgInvesting Asia 2012 conference in Singapore, Sept. 25-27.  This premier agricultural investing conference offers a comprehensive overview of agriculture investment opportunities, risks, and return profiles across global production regions. GAI Asia features keynote speaker Jim Rogers, and panel discussions highlight themes of farmland, private equity, protein plays, palm oil opportunities and more. www.globalaginvesting.com.

Source: Brazil Business Today

High hopes for Brazilian science funding windfall

Brazil’s Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (MCTI) has unveiled a four-year, US$250 million fund to develop the country’s software industry, and put forward a proposal to funnel an additional $750 million into broader research and development work.

Announced this week, the plans are an attempt by Marco Antonio Raupp, Brazil’s science minister, to make up for the 22% ($850 million) cut to his office’s 2012 budget, which dismayed researchers earlier this year (see ‘Brazilian researchers protest budget cuts’).

They’re also another example of how Brazil’s research funding priorities have changed in recent years. The ministry added “innovation” to its name last year, and Raupp wants the country’s postgraduates, whose number has more than doubled over the past decade, to work more closely with industry.

According to Virgílio Almeida, national secretary for information technology (IT) policy, the new fund has four main goals. It should stimulate companies to develop software relevant to key Brazilian industries such as oil and gas extraction, or agriculture, as well as software useful to the government, enabling departments to ‘buy Brazilian’. It will also provide seed funding for software start-ups, and support efforts to attract foreign companies to site IT R&D centres in Brazil.

The second plan, called Brazilian Innovative Science, is still awaiting approval from President Dilma Rousseff. It aims to complement Science Without Borders, a federal programme which pays for science and enginneering students to study abroad  (see ‘Brazil promises 75,000 scholarships in science and technology’). The proposed programme would help to ensure that returning scholars apply their new-found skills, in funded research positions for example.

Those funds, however, are dwarfed by a national stimulus package announced by Rousseff last week, which will see the country spend about US$66 billion on transport infrastructure.  Unlike countries such as South Korea, France and the United States, which have used stimulus packages to invest in science and technology, Brazilian researchers have yet to benefit from their government’s stimulus plans.

Fonte: Nature.com

BRIC countries are boosting agricultural productivity thanks to investments in plant research and entrepreneurial initiatives, according to a new Economist Intelligence Unit study

 The high-growth economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs) are investing heavily in agricultural research, offering financial backing to farmers, promoting best practices in farming, and strengthening rural infrastructure to secure their food supplies, according to a new Economist Intelligence Unit study. As demand for food soars in the coming decades, boosting yields in agricultural systems around the world will be essential. The BRICs have been among the most successful food producers of the past two decades. Their successes provide valuable lessons for other high-growth areas—as well as for developed markets—according to the study, which was sponsored by Passion Céréales, an umbrella organisation for French cereals producers.

Agriculture in high-growth markets: Securing global food supplies is a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit which discusses the food supply challenges that the world faces in the coming decades; and investigates how the BRIC countries are addressing these. It focuses on successful measures being taken to expand food production in high-growth countries, and the potential for further improvements in food productivity. The report draws on wide-ranging desk research and in-depth interviews with nine international experts on food and agriculture.

The key findings of the research are as follows:

  • High-growth economies are acting decisively to boost agricultural productivity. Governments are investing heavily in agricultural research, offering financial backing to farmers, promoting best practices in farming, and strengthening rural infrastructure. Far from being one-off initiatives, these measures are part of wide-ranging agricultural programmes.
  • There is still scope for improvement in food productivity. Despite clear successes in food production in high-growth economies, there is still scope for improvement. In some cases, further mechanisation may boost output; in other cases, better crop management may drive productivity; and in others still, improved infrastructure may ease access to market. Plant breeding technologies also hold a key tomore productivity gains.
  • Lessons can be drawn from the successes of the high-growth economies. Agricultural successes in high-growth emerging markets are often based on a widespread adoption of plant breeding technologies, including hybridisation and genetic modification. A further success factor appears to be an entrepreneurial environment, which promotes innovation and attracts investment. At the same time, subsidies appear to play a limited role in the agricultural sector in high-growth economies.
  • Closer global co-operation can drive food production. To capitalise on agricultural successes in high-growth markets, the sharing of resources such as research capabilities, technology and knowledge is critical. Furthermore, closer co-operation across countries and regions, and across the public and private sectors, looks certain to help stabilise food prices and secure global food supplies in the next decades.
  • Global food production must expand as much as 3% annually to meet demand. Drivers behind the continuing rise in food demand include growing populations, increasing prosperity and ongoing urbanisation. To secure food supplies for the planet’s population, agricultural output must expand as much as 3% annually in the years to 2030, in contrast to recent growth of just over 2%. Improvements in food productivity are needed to reach this goal.
  • Agriculture will increasingly be ecologically sustainable, technologically driven, and inclusive of small suppliers. Food production will have a lesser environmental impact; it will be driven by plant breeding technologies, including hybridisation and genetic modification; and it will embrace smaller suppliers as well as larger ones. Ongoing efforts to drive food productivity are likely to be concentrated in high-growth economies, where demand for food is rising most sharply.

Read more: http://www.managementthinking.eiu.com/press-release.html-8#ixzz23jUhJOZw

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit / http://www.managementthinking.eiu.com/