Brazil will take 20 years to clear obstacles to agricultural exports

Brazil has spent billions of dollars to improve its port infrastructure, but it will be 20 years before it resolves bottlenecks on roads, railways and waterways that hinder agricultural exports, a leading industry economist said on Thursday.

Brazil is the main world exporter of soy, sugar, and beef, and the second largest exporter of grains. Improvements in the capacity of their ports have put an end to the chronic delays that plagued their exports for years.

But the transportation networks that feed the ports still need a lot of work, said Daniel Amaral, chief economist at Brazil’s vegetable oil company, Abiove.

“Brazil still has an inadequate transport matrix,” he said at a conference in the United States. “We need many more investments in waterways and railways,” he added.

“Roads in parts of Brazil that connect production regions with ports are not yet paved”, said Clay Hamilton, an official with the US Department of Agriculture, who works at his country’s embassy in Brasilia.

Earlier this month, soy truckers in Brazil published images that showed they could not advance on an unpaved stretch of road in the state of Pará, which connected the country’s agricultural heart with the northern ports.

Despite the restrictions, Brazil’s exports continue to grow and its role as an agricultural power is strengthening.

The South American country is headed to obscure the United States as the world’s leading corn exporter and is competing with that country for a market share in nations like Mexico.

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