SAO PAULO, April 29 (Reuters) - The volume of agricultural commodities originated, processed and traded in Brazil by Cargill Inc rose by 12% in 2019 as the U.S.-based firm makes the most from its presence in one of the world's largest breadbaskets.
Cargill said in a statement on Wednesday volumes rose to 36 million tonnes last year while the consolidated net revenue at a division known as Cargill Agrícola, present in 17 states, rose by 6.7% last year to 48.6 billion reais.
The unit turned a 345.5 million real profit.
"2019 was a strong year for the grain harvest in Brazil, which increased revenue and volumes traded," Paulo Sousa, chief executive of Brazil's Cargill, said in a statement.
Looking ahead, he said the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which dented food demand and hampered economic growth worldwide, will make Cargill's Brazilian presence more important than ever.
"We will deal with an unprecedented scenario," Sousa said. "But we continue doing our part to have Brazil as a reliable supplier of food to the world," Sousa said.
The executive said Cargill can guarantee "food security in Brazil and reliable and competitive supplies to global clients."
Cargill is one of the largest soy and corn exporters in the country, a global agriculture powerhouse that is the number one exporter of soybeans, coffee, and sugar, among other food staples.
In 2019, Cargill announced investments of 500 million reais in Brazil, and by the end of the year it had increased this amount by 31% to 656 million reais, the company said.
Construction of a pectin factory is underway in Bebedouro, São Paulo state, despite the economic crisis, the company said.
Pectin, a type of food ingredient, will expand Cargill's product portfolio and strengthen the company's position in the global pectin market, Cargill said. (Reporting by Roberto Samora Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)