Agricultural production expected to remain high in Portuguese-speaking world in 2011

21 March 2011

Macau, China, 21 March – Agricultural production is expected to remain high this year in the Portuguese-speaking world, after an exceptional year in 2010, in which Brazil posted record grain production, according to the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).

Brazil, which is the main agricultural producer amongst Portuguese-speaking countries, last year posted record grain production, with wheat rising 17 percent against 20009 to 5.9 million tons, according to the GIEWS, a body of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) based in Rome.

Favourable weather last year made it possible for wheat yield to increase substantially, making up for a reduction in planted area, said the same source, which crosses data on the ground with satellite images.

The outlook is “mainly favourable” for this year’s summer harvests in Brazil, such as maize, soy and rice, it said.

This is the case in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where seeding was delayed due to irregular rain, but also in other states, such as Paraná, Minas Gerais and Goiás, where the development of the harvest is considered, “good to very good.”

The total area planted with maize is estimated at 7.3 million hectares, or 3.7 percent less than last year.

A new record is expected for soy, of 24.1 million hectares, or 2.6 percent more than in last year’s harvest, alongside a slight reduction in rice planting, of around 2.7 million hectares.

Prospects for Angola are also “favourable” this year and GIEWS estimates that planting of grains in the majority of regions has been concluded.

In the final quarter of 2010, it said, Angola had “abundant” rain, which benefitted the provinces of Bié and Huambo, but led to the loss of crops in Bengo province.

Satellite images show “normal vegetation conditions,” it said.

In 2010, grain production, mainly maize, grew by around 4 percent, to 1.35 million tons – the third consecutive yearly rise.

“The continued support by the government for the agricultural sector by providing production resources, including seeds and fertilizer, contributed to the best ever grain crop,” alongside good weather in the provinces of Kwanza Sul, Huambo and Bié.

In Mozambique, the weather, and particularly precipitation, has been favourable across most of the country, despite a slight lack in the north, particularly in the provinces of Niassa, Cabo Delgado and Nampula.

For the 2010-11 harvest, the government continues to provide seeds for maize, rice, sorghum and soy, to support the sector and try to increase productivity.

“Production fairs, promoted by the provincial agricultural directorates, contributed to better access to and availability of seeds, agricultural tools and fertilizers. As well as this, tractors and animals were provided to support productivity, mainly in the central and northern provinces,” said the GIEWS.

Last year, general grain production was above average, although it was weak in the southern regions. Maize production fell 3 percent against a record set in 2009, different varieties of sorghum increased, whilst a drought in central coastal areas led to a 30 percent drop in rice production.

In Guinea Bissau, the grain harvest in 2010 was favourable, with a rise of 14 percent, and market conditions for cashew allowed for a “considerable” increase in exports, which improved farmers’ incomes, according to official sources cited by the GIEWS.

In Cape Verde last year’s harvest was also above average, with a 5 percent rise against 2010.

As for East Timor, last year’s harvest was also favourable, and it is expected that rice production will increase 7 percent and maize production will fall slightly, despite remaining above average for the last five years. (macauhub)