Reduction of the Chinese supply of agricultural pesticides puts at risk Brazilian agriculture, warns CCAB Agro
At an event in China, the Brazilian company made up of farmers emphasized the country's competitive differentials in food production, and the cooperative model that makes the company the largest cooperative platform in Latin America.
The competitive differentials, or "strengths" of Brazilian agribusiness, the agricultural cooperatives and the changes demanded by final consumers were the focus of the presentation of CCAB Agro in the China Pesticide Exporting Workshop 2019 (CPEW 2019). The event, which took place in the first week of July, brought together representatives of industry and world trade in pesticides, as well as members of the Chinese and Indian governments and health and safety professionals in the city of Hanghzou, China. The event came at a time when China's new environmental policies, with factory closures and spatial reorganization of the remaining ones, raise uncertainties about the provision of one of the most important inputs of tropical agriculture, the pesticides. The Chinese goal is to reduce the number of industries by 30% by 2020, as part of the 13th Plan for the Social and Economic Development of the People's Republic of China.
By 2018, 30% of agricultural pesticides imported into Brazil came from China directly. "But there is another percentage that comes indirectly, because the Chinese are big suppliers of raw materials to other countries as well. This new reality affects us a lot. We can’t, in the present conjuncture, guarantee the supply of food to the world, without the Chinese inputs. Today we depend on these chemicals imported from there to produce, and, on the other hand, we are major suppliers of food, especially protein, to China. It is a symbiotic relationship", explains the CEO of CCAB Agro, Jones Yasuda.
Jones Yasuda warned about the risk of growing world supply of products of unknown origin during the event, which was attended by ICAMA (The Institute for the Control of Agrochemicals, Ministry of Agriculture). "Together, governments should work hard to extinguish these obscure sources, because of the danger they bring to both human health, nature and economics, since their effectiveness is uncertain. Brazilian farmers demand quality and respect for the laws of each country, to ensure fair competition and the production of quality food", warned Yasuda. The officer from ICAMA disclosed at the workshop that they will visit Brazil soon. "They have already confirmed their presence by this September. The goal is to meet with Brazilian authorities and producer associations to discuss this issue", announces the CEO.
According to Yasuda, in Brazil, the production of food in scale depends on the agricultural chemicals, because "the same natural conditions that guarantee the fast growth of the plants and the production in profusion, also favor the development of pests and diseases. Unlike the countries of the Northern Hemisphere, we do not have snow stations here to break the cycle of crop enemies. We produce the whole year and depend on pesticides for that. They are for agriculture what the remedies are for human health”, he points out.
Still in a comparison between pesticides and remedies, Jones Yasuda says that just as antibiotics require medical prescription and controlled and punctual use, to ensure the effectiveness and to avoid tolerance of the bacteria to their active principles, agricultural chemicals also depend on prescriptions and alternation of substances in use. "With the changes in the Chinese chemical park, we will clearly see a reduction in supply, and an additional problem: many factories are being relocated, and for the purposes of the registration process in Brazil, even if they continue to produce exactly the same products, I need to enter a new request. This can take anywhere from six to eight years", he says.
One of the heaviest items in the producer's spreadsheet, pesticides are expected to become even more expensive because of declining supply coupled with the impact of the trade war between China and the United States. Since September 24, 2018, the United States has begun charging a 10% tariff on certain Chinese agrochemicals to reduce trade balance imbalance between the two countries by $ 200 billion. "With this, happy are the Japanese, European, American companies - logical - and especially the Indians. These have higher costs than the Chinese. Now they are temporarily balanced because Chinese products are at least 25 percent more expensive for American farmers because of the tariff barrier, "Yasuda says, and concludes:" If I had to bet, I would say prices will rise. And higher input prices mean more expensive food. This is ultimately a global food security problem", concludes him.