Climate change to cut Brazil’s soy exports 24% by 2020
August 11, 2008
Climate change could have a significant impact on thye value of Brazil’s agricultural exports according to a study presented Monday at an agribusiness conference in Sao Paulo, reports the Financial Times.
Revenue from Brazil’s major food crops — rice, coffee, beans, cassava, maize (corn) and soy — could decline by $1.6-1.8 billion per year by 2020 if average regional temperatures rise by between 1°C and 2°C. Soy would be particularly affected by rising temperatures, with the area of land suitable for cultivation falling 21 to 24 percent.
“The result will be a significant drop in Brazil’s farm exports,” Hilton Silveira Pinto, one of the report’s authors, told the Financial Times.
The study is based on models of climate change developed at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. Researchers at Unicamp, a Brazilian university , and Embrapa, a government agricultural research institute, applied the models across Brazil’s 5,562 municipalities.
The study showed that while high temperatures would decrease soy production, it would boost sugar cane. Nevertheless, Brazil would see an overall net decrease in agricultural productivity from its six most important crops.
Other scientists say Brazil’s crop productivity may also be affected by the continuing loss of the Amazon rainforest, which generates large amounts of rainfall in adjacent agricultural areas.