President Vladimir Putin in a phone call with Jair Bolsonaro said Russia will ensure that fertilizer trade with Brazil remains uninterrupted. Fertilizers, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, are widely used by Brazilian farmers and have made the country a world food powerhouse.
Brazil consumes 8% of the entire global production of fertilizers, valued at 55 million tons, and imports 85% of the input mainly from Russia, which is currently fully involved in a war in Ukraine and submitted to a strong economic embargo promoted by the United States, Western European, and Japan because of the military invasion of its neighbor and fomer republic under the USSR.
“The president thoroughly examined the issue of global food security. The Russian president gave a detailed insight into the factors related to the challenges faced in the global commodity and fertilizer markets. He emphasized the importance of rebuilding the free trade framework for agricultural and fertilizer goods that Western sanctions have destroyed. Given the circumstances, Putin emphasized Russia’s commitment to providing an uninterrupted supply of Russian fertilizers to Brazilian farmers,” Moscow said in an official statement.
Later, during an event at the Planalto Palace, the Executive power’s seat, Bolsonaro confirmed the talk with Putin, emphasizing that the issue of food production and energy security were the main issues discussed.
Fertilizer imports, have become one of the primary concerns of Brazilian farmers since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24, fearing shipments may slow down during the second half of 2022. Over the years, Brazil has broken successive records in fertilizer imports.
In 2022, until June 20, Brazil had already imported 17.5 million tons of fertilizers compared to 16.4 million tons imported in the first half of 2021.
“The increase in imported volume can be explained to the anticipation of purchases and deliveries, as farmers tried to avoid scarcity of these products,” explains Canal Rural’s Giovani Ferreira explained.
However, the pace of imports should slow down. “Brazil has already imported 42% of the total volume imported last year. The disbursement of US$11.3 billion equals 74% of the entire amount paid for fertilizers in 2021. The average price per ton went from US$ 360 in 2021 to US$ 650 in 2022. Fertilizers are far more expensive.”
“The expectation is to import between 20 million and 21 million tons of fertilizers in the second half of this year. It is unlikely that we will see another record broken.”
Fearing conflict and scarcity of supplies, many farmers are reducing the use of fertilizer, so that ”precision agriculture, the rational use of inputs, among other measures, need to be observed so as not to risk losing productivity,” pointed out Ferreira.