| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO Nov 25 Brazil's new-crop cocoa
production is poised for a recovery after a steep fall in the
previous season due to drought, according to estimates from an
analyst and the main local industry association.
The recovery will lead local processors next year to pare
back the large volume of imports that they booked this year to
supply the local industry.
According to the AIPC, the association which represents
cocoa processors in the country such as Olam, Cargill
and Barry Callebaut, Brazil should produce
around 200,000 tonnes of cocoa almonds in 2016/17 (Oct-Sept)
compared to 150,000 tonnes in the previous season.
Broker and consultancy INTL FCStone sees the new crop at
211,000 tonnes versus 140,000 tonnes previously.
Brazilian cocoa producers usually harvest a first crop from
November to February and then a second crop from April to
August, although younger plants produce the whole year.
Brazil's cocoa industry has an installed capacity to process
275,000 tonnes, among the five largest processing centers in the
world, but usually grinds around 240,000 tonnes.
"Imports for this year are all booked, at around 80,000
tonnes, all from Ghana," AIPC executive director Eduardo Bastos
said. The industry should reduce that volume by half next year,
according to him.
But Bastos and the local processors would like to see a much
Brazil was once the world's largest producer, with a peak of
435,000 tonnes in the 1985/86 crop. But the spread of the
devastating Witches' Broom fungus killed thousands of trees and
reduced average production to below 150,000 in 2000.
Industry and government officials, along with farmers'
associations, discussed a plan this week in Brasilia to increase
cocoa output to 300,000 tonnes in five years and to 400,000
tonnes in 10 years.
"There is a market rationale behind the plan. We expect a
global consumption of 5 million tonnes by 2020. So, we will need
700,000 tonnes more. Someone will have to produce that and
Brazil could help," said Bastos.
Expansion would take place mostly in Bahia and in the Amazon
state of Para, where cocoa trees are seen as a way to help
restore deforested land.
INTL FCStone cocoa analyst Fabio Rezende, however, said it
would be difficult for Brazil to resume its past status of large
exporter. Despite the plans by the industry and the government,
he does not see much response from farmers.
"We see a much more vigorous expansion in other countries in
the region, particularly Ecuador and Peru," he said.
(Additional reporting by Roberto Samora; Editing by Reese Ewing
and Chizu Nomiyama)