Brazil is one of the largest and most dynamic economies of the Latin American region with a GDP of approximately US$3.2 trillion (purchasing power parity). Furthermore, Brazil is one of the so-called BRIC countries and has a well-diversified economy, which consists of about 72% services and 22% industry. However, economic growth has seriously stalled in recent years, even reaching negative numbers. Even though the agriculture industry only accounts for 6% of the national economy, Brazil is a major producer of coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, and sugarcane. This article explores Brazilian fruit production and trade with global markets.
Contemporary Brazilian Fruit Production and Trade
The total area of apple cultivation in Brazil for 2016 is of almost 35.000 hectares, with overall apple production expected to be of 1 million metric tons. Both the total cultivation area and the overall production for 2016 represent a significant decrease in comparison to 2015, when the cultivation area totaled over 36.000 hectares and production was above 1.2 million metric tons. This production decrease is mainly due to unfavorable weather variations between June and November, which are the peak harvesting months. In consequence, total apple imports for 2016 are estimated to surpass 82.000 metric tons, originating mainly from Chile and Argentina. Within Brazil, the largest producing states are Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, which together account for more than 90% of the national production. Likewise, the most produced apple varieties in Brazil are Gala, Fuji and Eva.
Apple consumption within Brazil is estimated around 3 kilos (6.61 pounds) yearly per capita. In terms of export, Brazil exported over 44.000 metric tons during 2014 and more than 60.000 metric tons during 2015. However, exports are forecast to be significantly lower for 2016 due to the decrease in production. Interestingly, the largest export market for Brazilian apples is Bangladesh followed by several West European nations.
When it comes to pears, the Brazilian market relies heavily on imports due to the extremely limited domestic production. In fact, Brazilian pear production for 2015 was of approximately 15.000 metric tons. Meanwhile, the amount of imported pears is expected to increase from approximately 179.000 metric tons in 2015 to 205.000 metric tons in 2016. Though limited, pear production in Brazil is concentrated in the same states where apple production takes place. In spite of being dependent of the fluctuations of the US dollar, the United States is a significant import partner for the Brazilian pear market, particularly the Bartlett pear variety.
Finally, aggregate grape production in Brazil for 2016 should be slightly under 960.000 metric tons. This number is significantly lower than the 1.5 million metric tons of grape produced during 2015. The total area of grape cultivation in the country for 2016 accounts for more than 77.000 hectares, which represents a slight decrease from the approximately 79.000 hectares cultivated in 2015. Similar to the apple and grape sectors, over half of the grape output in Brazil comes from the state of Rio Grande do Sul.