Brazil is among the world’s largest producers of fruits and vegetables. We talked to Fabio Prata, Head of Customer Marketing at Bayer Brazil, and Fabio Maia, Fruits and Vegetables Crop Manager at Bayer Brazil, about the country’s major challenges in agriculture – and how Bayer supports Brazilian growers in connecting them to the global value chain.
Fabio Maia, Fruits and Vegetables Crop Manager at Bayer Brazil
Could you tell us a little about the market situation in Brazil?
Fabio Maia: “We have a very important horticulture market in Brazil, and we have a lot of producers – smallholder farmers as well as mid-sized and large-scale operations – growing many different crops. Brazilian growers play an important role in terms of producing food for the domestic market – but also in terms of employment, because the agricultural sector generates a lot of jobs.”
Fabio Prata, Head of Customer Marketing at Bayer Brazil
Fabio Prata: “In Brazil we’re talking about fruit and vegetable growers that represent about five million hectares; when we include coffee, it’s about seven million hectares. In Brazil, agriculture represents 23% of the country’s GDP. These numbers already give you a good understanding of how important agriculture is in Brazil. What’s more, the lion’s share of fruit and vegetable production is in fact for internal consumption; less than 10% is exported.”
What are currently the main challenges for growers in Brazil?
Fabio Prata: “One of the biggest challenges is actually contributing to global food security. However, for Brazilian growers to export fruits and vegetables to the rest of the world, they must fulfill international standards and requirements, including implementing traceability measures and obtaining certification schemes.”
Fabio Maia: “I absolutely agree. The major challenges are legislation and certification as well as having access to the international market.”
How can Bayer help growers with these issues?
Fabio Maia: “It’s very difficult to be working alone. Farmers are very good at growing and producing food, they know how to manage pests and diseases. On the other hand, they often struggle with issues beyond the field. We can help growers with that, by providing solutions and services and connecting them to the retailers – and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing in our 14 ongoing Food Chain Partnership initiatives in Brazil.”
Fabio Prata: “It’s our job as Bayer to support growers in getting market access, for example with innovations, new technologies, training in good agricultural practices, and getting certified – but also in connecting them with other stakeholders in the global food value chain.”
Naturally, this development should be sustainable…
Fabio Prata: “Of course, this is most important. In fact, sustainability is not only related to production in the field, but also involves the business aspect. The growers in Brazil want to be in business for years, for decades. This means that all aspects of the value chain must be sustainable.”
Fabio Maia: “It’s our job, as their partner, to make sure farmers grow in a sustainable way.”