Brazil pushes towards fertilizer independence
Jul. 16, 2009
The search for new reserves and the beginning of production at reserves in which research has already proven the existence of a strong potential for economically viable extraction of phosphorus and potash is one of the goals of the National Fertilizers Program (PNF).
The PNF is part of the Agriculture and Livestock Plan, which has allocated 107.5 billion reais (US$ 53.6 billion) in funds to business and family farming, for the planting and selling of the 2009/2010 crop. The PNF is going to work to expand fertilizer manufacturing, and thus reduce the Brazilian dependence on imported raw materials.
To give an idea of that dependence, it is worth noting that Brazil currently imports 70% of its fertilizer needs. Last year, for example, the country purchased approximately 13 billion reais (US$ 6.4 billion) of fertilizers (phosphorus, potash, and nitrogen-based) to meet its consumption needs, which total to 25 million tons per year.
In order to expand domestic production, thus reducing dependence on international suppliers, the aim is to seek new reserves and, at the same time, start exploring reserves that have already been studied and are already known.
With regard to phosphorus, for instance, exploration should start at the reserves of Santa Quiteria (state of Ceara), Patrocinio (Minas Gerais) and Anapolis (Goias). According to the Ministry of Agriculture, production at the reserves of Tapira and Araxa, also in the state of Minas Gerais, is going to grow, resulting in a 2.5 million-ton expansion in the supply of phosphorus-based fertilizers.
Research also indicates that the start of exploration at the reserves of Maecuru, in the state of Para, and of Ipero, in Sao Paulo, should increase the supply by 1.5 million tons, resulting in a total supply of 4 million tons of phosphate products. The forecast is for that volume to be attained within five years.
The Brazilian fertilizer market, according to Brazilian economists, ranks among the world's most attractive in terms of investment opportunities. In fact, Brazil is the fourth largest fertilizer market in the world, losing only to China, India and the United States.
Last year, the country posted revenues of US$ 25 billion, a figure that has grown by 5% on average, per year, over the last 10 years.
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