Feb. 23, 2021
By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages
According to a survey conducted by Spark Consultoria Strategica, Brazilian farmers invested even more in pest, disease and weed control in 2020. The area treated with pesticides grew by 6.9%, totaling 1.6 billion hectares, 107 million hectares more than in 2019.
“The calculation of treated area considered the number of products and applications of inputs, as well as cultivated area, to help us understand the use of pesticides. The concentration of treated area in 2020 was in the fourth and first quarters of the year, making up 46% and 32% of total, respectively. This period coincides with the summer, the ideal time for the main crops planted in Brazilian territory,” said Julio Borges, President of the Brazilian National Union of Plant Protection Products Industry (Sindiveg), who commissioned Spark to conduct the study.
In terms of market value in dollars, the agricultural pesticides sector was 10.4% lower in terms of product applied, below the union’s estimate of 11.8%. Total revenue was US$12.1 billion in 2020 compared to US$13.5 billion in 2019. The dollar value in 2020 was the lowest in five years. However, in real terms, the market value, measured in applied products, increased by 10%, rising from R$53.8 billion to R$59.1 billion.
“From January to December 2020, the sector’s exchange rate loss was 18.5%. The economic crisis aggravated by the quarantine has affected all sectors, but the efforts of agribusiness and the measures implemented to prevent production losses ensured the food security of Brazilians. Without inputs, food inflation would have been much higher than recorded,” Borges said.
As in previous years, the fight against insects involved a larger area treated in 2020, accounting for more than 413 million hectares, or about 25% of total. Herbicides accounted for about 401 million hectares or 24%. Producers also used fungicides on 306 million hectares, accounting for 19% of total area, while another 149 million hectares or 9% received seed treatment products.
In 2020, 1.05 million tons of pesticides were applied in the country, 6.8% higher in volume than in the previous year. However, the average volume per area decreased by 0.1%. In 2019, the index was 0.6341 kilos per hectare (kg/ha), decreasing to 0.6336 kg/ha in 2020. About 27% of market value is concentrated in the states of Mato Grosso and Rondônia, and 19% in Minas Gerais and São Paulo, which are important national agricultural centers.
The main Brazilian crop, soybean, accounted for 48% of the crop protection products amount (equivalent to US$5.8 billion) invested by farmers. Second is corn with 13% of total, equivalent to US$1.6 billion, followed by sugarcane with 11% of market value, cotton with 10%, vegetables and fruit with 4%, pasture and coffee with 3% each, in addition to beans, citrus, wheat and rice with 2% each. Other crops have a 1% share of total.
“Brazilian agriculture is driven by the relentless pursuit of greater productivity and, consequently, greater production. Even though it is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world, Brazil applies fewer pesticides per hectare than countries with temperate climates and have only one crop per year,” Borges said in conclusion.
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