Brazil feeds some 10% of world's population, research finds

By Gabriel Araújo

SAO PAULO, March 4 (Reuters) - Farmers in Brazil fed some 10% of the world’s 7.76 billion population last year, a study released on Thursday by state-run agricultural research agency Embrapa found.

The study focused on Brazil’s grains and oilseeds production as these are considered basic food staples that can be either used for direct human consumption or as animal feed for meat processing, Embrapa’s statement said.

The findings highlight the country’s strength as a global farming powerhouse, as the South American nation went from being a net food importer in recent decades to the world’s largest exporter of produce like soybeans, beef, and chicken that it sells to China, the European Union, and many others.

Embrapa said its researchers used two methodologies to estimate how many people Brazilian farmers fed in 2020.

In one, considered the most reliable by the researchers, they used international prices of Brazil’s grains output, as calculated by the International Monetary Fund, to arrive at the result. Under this calculation, Embrapa found Brazil fed 772.6 million people last year, including more than half a billion abroad.

In the other calculation, based on the country’s physical production of grains that deducted food imports, they found Brazil fed some 637 million people worldwide in 2020, including 212.3 million domestically.

Brazil accounted for 8% of global grain production last year, up from 6% in 2011, Embrapa concluded using that latter methodology. (Reporting by Gabriel Araújo and Ana Mano. Writing by Ana Mano. Editing by Sam Holmes.)

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