(Reuters) - Brazil has for centuries been known as a leading producer and exporter of the world’s breakfast foods — orange juice, coffee, sugar and cocoa.
But over the past two and a half decades since the opening of the economy to foreign investment, Latin America’s largest economy has also become a leading producers of important grains and meats, through investments in technology and land.
Following is a list of most of Brazil’s main agricultural products and exports:
* SUGAR: As the world’s largest producer and exporter of the sweetener, it’s expected to produce a record 40.9 million metric tones of sugar from cane this season and dominate half the world’s sugar market.
* COFFEE: As the world’s largest producer and exporter, it produces between 35 million and 55 million 60-kg bags of coffee annually, mostly arabica. It controls about 30 percent of the international market in the bean.
* FCOJ: As the world’s largest producer and exporter of orange juice, it accounts for roughly one in every two glasses of orange juice consumed in the world today.
* BEEF: Brazil has the world’s largest commercial cattle herd of around 200 million head. Although it consumes about 80 percent of its beef at home, Brazil still managed to become the largest exporter of beef. It produces mostly Indicus breeds like the Zebu and Nelore which are best suited for tropical climates and most of the herd is grass-fed.
* POULTRY: With a fast expanding grain belt, Brazil has leveraged its corn and soy production to become the world’s largest exporter of poultry meat and a fast growing exporter of pork. Feed account for about 70 percent of pork and poultry production costs.
* SOYBEANS: After the creation of commercial soybean varieties suitable for its tropical growing seasons in the 1970s, Brazil soon after vaulted into the world’s No. 2 soybean producer and exporter and one day will likely overtake the United States as the leading producer of the oilseed.
* CORN: Until recently it has been only a marginal corn exporter, keeping 95 percent of the 55 million metric tones-plus of corn produced at home to feed its booming pork and poultry industries. But in the past several years, Brazil has exported around 7 to 11 million metric tones a year, making it the No. 3 world exporter of the grain.
* COCOA: Brazil ranks sixth among the world’s cocoa growers but was No. 2 only a few decades ago until witch’s broom disease devastated its plantations, slashing output by more than half.
* TIMBER: With abundant rain, sun and land inside the tropics, Brazil - as with most of the above crops - is the world’s lowest cost producer of pulp from timber. Eucalyptus trees have a growing cycles of approximately seven years, compared with 10 to 12 years in Chile and 25 years in North America and Europe.
* COTTON: Brazil was only a marginal producer of cotton but burst into prominence this year jumping into the No. 4 slot of world exporters of the fiber. This comes on the heels of winning an international trade dispute at the World Trade Organization against U.S. subsidies. Brazil produces close to 2 million metric tones of high grade long fiber cotton lint.
* TOBACCO: Brazil is the world’s largest producer of tobacco, cultivation of which is concentrated in the southern growing states.
* ETHANOL: Brazil is typically the world’s largest exporter of cane-based ethanol, shipping around 3 billion liters a year. This pales in comparison with the 28 billion liters that it produces annually for the domestic flex-fuel car fleet.
Reporting by Reese Ewing; Editing by Alden Bentley