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Brazilian Infrastructure Will Boost Production

December 17, 2009
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor

Greg Vincent, AgWeb Editor

Several factors have recently limited Brazilian soybean expansion. That may soon change, says Marcelo Monteiro, executive director of Aprosoja, the Mato Grosso soybean growers' association.

At the Soyatech Global Soybean & Grain Transport Summit in New Orleans in early November, Monteiro said a developing rail system, coupled with improvements in the state's highway system and a focus on using 2,640 miles of navigable waterways currently not in use, will open opportunities never before realized. 

A north–south railroad that will run through the heart of the mammoth soybean-producing state is scheduled for completion next July. It will open new opportunities to ship products to ports on the Amazon River through the port of Santarem, accounting for a transportation savings of $53/ton. From the state capital of Cuiabá, a major highway is being built to the Tapajós River that will open water access to the same port. "That's a savings of $150/acre,” Monteiro says.

An east–west railroad from Mato Grosso to the seaport in Vitero will result in a $40/ton savings when it is finished within five years.

Peter Goldsmith, a University of Illinois economist and executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory, says these infrastructure changes stand to boost Brazilians' production tremendously, but there historically have been challenges moving from planning through to completion. The funding mechanism is often public, and policy direction can change over time. 

You can e-mail Greg Vincent at gvincent@farmjournal.com.

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