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Value of Brazil Agricultural Output Rises on Productivity Gains

SAO PAULO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The gross value of Brazil’s agricultural production rose in July from the year-ago month due to a boost in farming sector productivity and a large grain crop, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The gross value stood at 535.4 billion reais ($168.73 billion) in the period, a 4.5% increase.

The data is reviewed monthly, but the ministry does not anticipate significant changes because most of Brazil’s crops have already been harvested, said José Gasques, coordinator of analysis at the agricultural policy department.

The data underscores the importance of the farm sector to the feeble Brazilian economy, which grew by 1% in the first quarter from the preceding one, ending the worst recession in the country’s history.

“This is the result of a record grain crop,” said Gasques, referring to an expected bumper harvest of 238.2 million tonnes of mostly soybeans and corn.

The country’s gross domestic product was $1.95 trillion at current prices, according to 2016 data from statistics agency IBGE.

Last year, agricultural prices were decisive in the value of agricultural production but in 2017 the most important factor was related to productivity, the statement said. ($1 = 3.1732 reais) (Reporting by Ana Mano; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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