U.S., Brazil should partner to increase food, fuel production, put an end to trade barriers to deal with growing demand of both sectors, Brazilian senator says

WASHINGTON , November 4, 2011 (press release) – Senator Katia Abreu, president of the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock, proposed today an agenda for partnership between Brazil and the US to increase food and fuel production and put an end to trade barriers in order to deal with the growing world demands in both sectors.

According to Abreu, investments in technology alone can make Brazil's agricultural production triple and livestock production double in the next two years. "If we want to answer the new demands of the world's growing population, by 2050 we must increase food production in more than 70%," said Senator Abreu. "Both Brazil and the US can increase production with new investments in technology."

Before those goals can be achieved, however, Brazil needs to address an impending risk: the country will loose around 80 million hectares of farmable land unless Congress approves changes in its Forest Code soon. That is the estimated amount of farmed land that, according to environmentalists, should be used for reforestation under the current legislation, even though Brazil already preserves over 61% of its original forests. The reforestation of 80 million hectares of farmed land would mean production losses of about US$ 100 billion a year.

This issue was mentioned by the Brazilian Senator in New York, where she was earlier this week, and in Washington DC. Her aim is to promote the vision of a common Brazilian-American agenda. After recent lectures at Columbia University, she will attend meetings at Georgetown University in addition to the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank.

Senator Abreu has also meetings with investors interested in the Brazilian agribusiness, the Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce and BIC - The Brazil Industries Coalition. According to Abreu, the world's population reaching 7 billion persons this week brings new concerns. "By 2050 the population may reach 9 billion, therefore food and fuel sustainable alternatives must be developed." With special attention to the preservation of its native lands, Brazil has a lot more to offer to the world in terms of food production. Only 27.7% of the Brazilian territory is occupied by agribusiness, keeping 61% of the land preserved. "We maintain both quality food production and environmental preservation," explains Abreu. Brazilian agribusiness accounts today for 22.4% of the GDP (US$ 467.9 billion), 37% of jobs and 37.9% of exports (US$ 76.44 billion).

These results could significantly increase with the upgrade of the Brazilian Forest Code. After a series of changes since its creation in 1965, the Brazilian Forest Code currently goes through an update process in the National Congress to regulate the rural activity and legalize investments in the sector.

Senator Abreu's approach to the Brazil-US partnership aims to ensure sustainable agribusiness and exports. She notes that while one of the most important areas of cooperation between the two countries is ethanol production, we must take into consideration that "Brazil won't produce enough ethanol to meet increasing demand unless cane producers invest in new mills and plantations."

Senator Abreu returns to Brasília this week, to support the upgrade of the Forest Code, explaining the population and NGOs that according to the New Code no single tree needs to be cut to increase production. With current available technologies and areas already cleared, Brazil can produce more, in a sustainable environment. After all, our planet depends on its preservation. That is why the partnership with the US for self-sustainable agribusiness is so important for both countries.

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