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September 27, 2018

Brazil remains heavily dependent on Imported Fertilizers

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Even though Brazil is one of the largest agricultural exporters in the world and one of the largest consumers of fertilizers, the country is woefully inadequate when it comes to producing enough fertilizers to satisfy its domestic needs.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported earlier this week that at the end of 2016, Brazil was the third largest agricultural exporter in the world with 5.7% of the global market, following the United States with 11% and the European Union with 41%. Brazil is responsible for 7% of the fertilizers consumed in the world, trailing China, India, and the United States.

Even though agricultural production in Brazil continues to increase, fertilizer production in Brazil from 2007 to 2017 actually decline from 9.8 million tons in 2007 to 8.1 million tons in 2017. In contrast, fertilizer deliveries in Brazil increased over the same decade from 24.6 million tons to 34.4 million tons, or an increase of 39.8% according to the Brazilian Association of Fertilizer Distributors (Anda).

The main plant nutrients utilized in Brazil are potassium, which accounts for 38% of the total, followed by agricultural limestone at 33%, and nitrogen at 29%. The soybean crop utilizes the most fertilizers at 40% of the total. Approximately, 70% of the fertilizers utilized in Brazil are imported. Brazil imports 95% of the potassium chlorate used in the country, 83% of the nitrogen, and 60% of the phosphorus.

One of the largest and most modern fertilizer mixing operations in Brazil is the ANDALI S/A plant located in the city of Rondonopolis, Mato Grosso. The facility is a joint venture with CHS do Brasil, which is a branch of CHS Inc., the largest grain cooperative in the United States. It is located in the huge Complexo Intermodal Rumo-ALL, which is the largest grain terminal in Brazil. There are two big advantages of being located in the complex. It is connected to the Port of Santos by the only existing railroad in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso is the largest producer of soybeans, corn, and cotton in Brazil.

The facility has the capacity to store 260,000 tons of fertilizers and to mix 5,000 tons per day into big-bags. In 2018, they expect to deliver 750,000 tons of fertilizers.