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Syngenta sees possible soybean seed shortage in Brazil
* Producers may lack sufficient seed, agrochemicals
* Soy area to expand by 2 mln hectares, or 8 pct
* Use of less than optimal seeds will drag down yields
SAO PAULO, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Plans to plant a record soybean crop in Brazil could leave the No. 2 producer with a seed and pesticide shortage, the local head of Syngenta , the world's largest agrochemicals company, said on Thursday.
Brazil's area of soybeans to be planted in 2012/2013 will likely surpass the 24.8 million hectares (61.3 million acres) last year by 2 million hectares, or 8 percent, as farmers eye record-high soybean future prices, Laercio Giampani of Switzerland-based Syngenta said.
Brazil has transformed into an agricultural powerhouse in recent years, but hopes of surpassing the United States and becoming the world's top soybean producer could prove elusive due to lack of planning and infrastructure limitations.
The country's soybean seed demand will likely increase by more than 2 million bags, and most seed suppliers in the country have already cleared their inventory for the season, Giampani told Reuters.
"There will be an increased demand and we are looking at the possibility of having a lack of certain products in Brazil," he said just a few weeks before planting begins.
"If we have an unusual attack of insects or a disease, we may have a lack of pesticides," he added.
A drought resulted in a drop in output of Brazil's 2011/2012 soybean crop, and farmers are aiming for a comeback this year. They are choosing soybeans over cotton and corn, which are more expensive to produce and ship.
Grains markets are looking to Brazil to step up and help fill the gap in global supplies left by the worst drought in more than 50 years over the U.S. grain belt, the largest producer and exporter of soybeans and corn.
Local producers will not literally run out of seed but they could be forced to turn to less than optimal varieties such as beans harvested from the previous crop that were never intended for planting, which will lead to a drop yields typically. (Reporting By Gustavo Bonato; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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