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Exportation of forest products grows and segment is already the second on the agribusiness agenda

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Forest products have been prominent in agribusiness exports, reaching the second position among the main segments of the trade balance of the sector in the period from January to May this year. The volume exported reached US $ 5.75 billion in the first five months, up 30.5% over the same period last year, being surpassed only by sales of the soy complex and the meat export front.

Exports of timber and its works increased by 16.3% to US $ 1.44 billion. Foreign paper sales reached US $ 803.34 million. The main forest product is pulp with a record value of US $ 3.51 billion. The quantity exported was also record at 6.5 million tonnes (+ 14.0%) and the average export price increased (+ 28.5%).

Brazil today is the 3rd largest exporter of pulp, with 13.2% of the world market of US $ 47.98 billion. Of the total Brazilian production, 69% is destined for export. According to IBGE data, planted forests currently occupy 10 million hectares, which corresponds to 1% of the country’s arable land.

“The climate, soil and technology we have in Brazil have allowed us to reach the highest average annual productivity in the world,” explains agronomist João Salomão, general coordinator of Forestry and Livestock Affairs at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply ( Map).

In 2016, Brazil led the global ranking of forest productivity, with an average of 35.7 m³ ha / year in eucalyptus plantation and 30.5 m³ ha / year in planting pine trees, according to data from the Brazilian Tree Industry (IBÁ). China ranks second with 29 m³ ha / year (eucalyptus) and 20 m³ ha / year (pinus). Mozambique is the third with 25 m³ / ha per year (eucalyptus) and 12 m³ / ha (pinus).

“Brazilian productivity is higher than our competitors and we still offer products at the most competitive prices in the world market. We are allied, naturally, with the performance of Brazilian companies with international scope of action, well related in the foreign market, which assured us that we reached very expressive production and export numbers. ”

The speed of growth of the planting area is 100 to 200 thousand hectares / year, a variation that depends on the demand of the international consumers and the economic conditions. The National Plan for the Development of Planted Forests foresees an increase of 2 million hectares of forests planted by 2030.

The 20% increase in planted area over this period is a “fairly conservative” estimate, according to Solomon. “The goal is quite possible to be achieved.”

Salomão believes that despite great potential for growth, due to productivity levels, research and new technologies, the sector still faces “reactions with ideological bias”, criticism of pine and eucalyptus crops that would cause damage to the environment. The effect is the opposite in the opinion of the agronomist.

“In fact, all Brazilian commitments related to climate change – such as the Paris Accord, for example – suggest that we must increase the areas of planted forests. Research and data today prove that planted forests are important for the conservation of the environment, beneficial to carbon sequestration and soil water retention. ”

Solomon indicates that there is another indirect effect, essentially beneficial to the environment. Only the 1% arable area with planted forests meets 90% of the demand for forest products for Brazilian industry.

“If we are consuming planted forests,” Solomon concludes, “we contribute to preserving the primary forests.”

However, in disagreement with the national policy, some state legislations, like Rio Grande do Sul, require environmental licensing that treats forest planted as a high polluting potential activity.

“If planting forests is good, at the very least we must question the need for such licensing. Forest planting can not have licensing requirement similar to that of a mining company. ”

Two other barriers blocking increased production of planted forests are related to credit and logistics.

“It is necessary to have credit adequate to the long-term characteristic of the sector, which demands from 12 to 15 years for the harvest, as is the case of pine. Our funding lines need to be adjusted to these deadlines. Logistics is also important. The forest is not transported over long distances. We need adequate logistics, accessible for production outflow. ”

In the Agricultural and Livestock Plan (PAP 2018/2019) there is a credit line of up to R $ 5 million per project.

The policy of Planted Forests began to be implemented in the 1970s and 1980s, based on fiscal incentive for plantations of forest stands, under the administration of IBDF (Brazilian Institute of Forest Development).

In August 2008, the Sectorial Chamber of the Silviculture Production Chain was created in the Ministry of Agriculture.

As of 2011, new debates resulted in Decree 8,375, dated December 11, 2014, which transferred the sector to the Ministry of Agriculture. Prior to 2014, some important functions, with the exception of policy and strategic planning, were already carried out by the Map, such as seed registration and forest credit. The 2014 decree fully transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture the planted forests sector, including the policy and its instruments.

The Sectorial Chamber of Forestry, with the name updated for Forests Planted, is presided over by Walter Vieira Rezende, representative of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA).