(New throughout, adds details of report, comment from CNA)
BRASÍLIA, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Agriculture has been the only sector of the Brazilian economy to add jobs this year, a farm lobby said on Tuesday, helping the country recover from its worst recession in a century even though a meat processing scandal has weighed on agribusiness as a whole.
Brazilian agriculture and agribusiness contributed 23.5 percent to the country’s gross domestic product in 2017, the highest in 13 years, according to an estimate released on Tuesday by the farm lobby CNA.
CNA also said job creation was the highest in five years in the farming and animal husbandry sectors, the only segments of the economy that increased jobs.
The agriculture and livestock sector is expected to expand by up to 11 percent this year, and projected to grow by 5 percent next year. Still, the overall agribusiness sector’s output shrank 2 percent in 2017,largely due to setbacks in the meatpacking and milk industries, CNA said.
In its annual summary, the entity added that agriculture was the main contributor to bringing inflation down in Brazil.
“Despite a turbulent year for the economy and politics in Brazil, agribusiness has contributed to help the country overcome the crisis,” CNA said in a statement.
Shipments of agribusiness products totaled $82 billion in the first 10 months of the year, a 12.2 pct increase over the same period 2016, it also said, adding this represents 45 percent of the country’s exports in the period. Next year, agribusiness exports will account for 50 percent, CNA predicted.
The farm group projected 2018 growth for Brazil’s agribusiness sector between 0.5 percent and 1 percent.
Brazil’s GDP shrank around 8 percent in the 2015-2016 period, then grew 1.4 percent in the third quarter from the same period a year ago, adding to signs that Latin America’s largest economy is turning the corner after its deepest recession on record. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Writing by Ana Mano in São Paulo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)