by Ana Mano
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil imported record volumes of potassium chloride (Kcl) from Canada in the first half of the year, a sign that farmers will have a good supply of fertilizer to feed crops, increase productivity and potentially expand the area when planting begins in September.
According to data compiled by consultancy Agrinvest Commodities and provided to Reuters on Thursday, Brazil imported 2.291 million tonnes of Canadian potash between January and June, an annual increase of 71.2%.
“Canada only supplies potassium chloride to Brazil,” said Jeferson Souza, analyst at Agrinvest. “But the volume of Kcl imported by Brazil in the first half of the year was so large that Canada became the second largest fertilizer supplier overall during the period.”
Russia was the biggest fertilizer supplier to Brazil, with China being the third, he added.
Brazil’s total fertilizer purchases rose 13% in the first half, according to data from shipping agency Carcaronave.
During the period, potash imports from Belarus fell by 16% to 949,708 tonnes, although it was still Brazil’s third largest supplier of Kcl as the country was targeted by Western sanctions.
Brazil’s Kcl imports from Russia, a country also hit by sanctions after Ukraine’s invasion, rose 27% to 1.935 million tonnes, the data showed.
According to Souza, the Russians are selling fertilizer to Brazilian and North American importers, a situation “unthinkable” in mid-March.
Despite war and sanctions, business is conducted by Russia and goods are shipped.
With uninterrupted trade flows, producers in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil’s main cereal, have acquired virtually all the nutrients needed to start planting summer crops, Souza noted.
About 45% of fertilizer consumption goes to growing soybeans in Brazil, which is the world’s largest producer and exporter of oilseeds.
Next season, weather permitting, Brazilian soybean growers could increase production by 18.5% to nearly 148 million tonnes, according to a Reuters poll, which predicts a potential acreage expansion of nearly 3 %.
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