Brazil is the ninth largest producer of rice worldwide and is the biggest producer outside Asia. Brazil first reached self-sufficiency in rice in 2003/2004 and the country both imports and exports rice now.
In 2008 Brazil doubled its rice exports from the previous year to 400,000 tons – most of which went to Africa.
In 2004 Brazil exported around 37,000 tons, so in just four years it has increased its exports more than ten fold. In 2008 it imported around 615,000 tons.
Rice in Brazil is grown under two eco-systems: irrigated (75% of production) and upland (25% of production), both with potential for expansion. Each occupied around 50% of Brazil’s 2.9 million hectares of rice production area in the 2010-2011 cropping season.
Since the early 1980s a steady reduction of upland rice areas and significant increases in yields of an almost stable irrigated rice area, permitted producing 50% more rice (4 million tons) with 50% less land (3 million hectares), an enormous achievement in eco-efficiency. Irrigated rice in Brazil belongs to Indica subspecies, while upland cultivars belong to Japonica.
The most important share of the production comes from the subtropical – temperate environment of the South of the country, under the irrigated system, accounting for 70% of Brazil’s rice production.
Country and rice statistics
- Population (July 2011): 203,429,773 (CIA World Factbook)
- Total land area: 851,487,700 hectares (CIA World Factbook)
- Land used for rice production: 2,887,000 hectares (FAO, 2009)
- Total rice production: 12.65 million tons (FAO, 2009)
- Total rice consumption: 12.60 million metric tons (CONAB/Brazil, 2009)
- Average rice consumption: 33 kilograms per person per year (World Rice Statistics, 2007)