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Brazil’s 2020 economy: Agriculture boomed while others fell

iStock/Getty Images soybean plantation road montain brazil
Brazil expects another record grain harvest in 2021, eclipsing last year’s record.

The COVID-19 pandemic cut Brazilian GDP by 4.1% last year, according to data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). The retraction caused by social distancing and the reduction of economic activities was softened by nine installments of government emergency aid released to the population, but as with the rest of the world, the country was still hit by the consequences of the coronavirus.

The industry and services sectors, which combined make up nearly 95% of Brazil’s GDP, saw an 8% loss in 2020.

The only sector that grew in 2020 was agriculture. The Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA) released a technical report stating that the industry registered the best performance in job creation since 2011. In total, the Brazilian economy created 142,690 job opportunities last year, of which nearly half, or 61,637, were in agribusiness and agriculture.

Last year Brazilian agriculture registered record exports of USD $100 billion; 18.2% gross value growth in production; and a high of 16.8% in GDP in the first 10 months of the year, according to CAN and the Center of Advanced Studies in Applied Economy (CEPEA).

2021 harvest expects record numbers

The national grain harvest for 2021 is expected to be 9 million tons above the 2020 harvest, a growth of 3.5% over last year, already a record. The IBGE estimates that, despite the delay in soybean planting due to drought, grain farms were able to recover in most areas when the rain picked up. Prices remain favorable in the international market and demand for the product is still high. Producers continue to increase soybean acreage all over Brazil, says Carlos Barradas, IBGE research manager.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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