Corn: the sector struggles to find alternatives to increase the cereal’s production and quality

Corn: the sector struggles to find alternatives to increase the cereal’s production and quality
Experts tackle the economic, social, and agricultural importance of corn

The Pro-Corn Program (Programa Pró-Milho) from the Rio Grande do Sul State Secretary of Agriculture was introduced to the Expodireto Cotrijal audience on Monday during the 12th National Corn Forum (12º Fórum Nacional do Milho). Launched by a Rio Grande do Sul Government decree in February of this year, the program’s main objectives are to increase production and guarantee the quality of Rio Grande do Sul’s corn with compatible income and greater security for farmers.

Cereal is essential to the productive chains for raising chickens, pigs, and cattle for dairy and beef, and its direct and indirect stake in the Rio Grande do Sul economy is 10% of the GDP, but production is not meeting the demand.

The Rio Grande do Sul Secretary of Agriculture Covatti Filho explained that the program was conceived of from a few main challenges faced by farmers in 2019: the sector isn’t self-sufficient. It’s necessary to buy the product from other States, and the cost is getting high.

“It’s not enough to say that we want to be self-sufficient if we don’t also give ourselves the right tools to make this happen. That’s why the program is focused on three objectives: increased production, corn quality, and commercialization and credit and this is done by partnerships. We need the 25 signed partnerships to multiply and for all partnerships to be subject to fiscal control for this to work,” the secretary emphasized.

According to Ivan Bonetti, the Director of Agricultural Policy and Rural Development of the Agriculture Department of Rio Grande do Sul, corn is the most produced cereal in the world and is fundamental for sustainably managing production systems. “The problem is that our State presents lower production than the demand by around 1.5 million tons per year. This year with the dry weather, the lack of corn in the State according to our production must exceed 2 million tons this year.”

Bonetti explained that the Pro-Corn Program is focused on three other subprograms. The plans to be put into action are: intensifying technological assistance to farmers, promoting greater technological efficiency in production, increasing productivity in regions with lower results per hectare, increasing the number of grain dryers, increasing the static storage capacity, and streamlining defrayal hiring and investment.

“It’s evident that a few actions are related to distinct regions in the State. The idea is a greater standardization of Rio Grande do Sul’s corn production and quality,” he concluded. The first contract of the Pro-Corn Program was signed this Monday afternoon and is related to an irrigation project on a 30 hectare property.

Essential for the Producing System

Corn’s importance as a crop, based on its agronomic and economic aspects, was also the subject of the forum debates in the panel titled “Corn: protective production” (“Milho: produção protetiva”). Experts emphasized that the cereal is fundamental for conserving soil in crop rotation. “We’re just not expressing the productive potential of new soy varieties because we’re missing corn in the antecessor crop,” president of Apromilho Rio Grande do Sul Ricardo Meneghetti stated.

According to Deputy Chief of Technology Transferral for Embrapa Wheat (Embrapa Trigo) Jorge Lemanski’s evaluation, corn is essential for Southern Brazil’s productive system from an economic, social, and environmental point of view. “It brings many benefits including making the soil more complex and increasing the possibility for more soy, wheat, and other crop production.” The director stated that intensifying the use of land in Brazil’s tropical and subtropical environments is the best way for the sector to increase growth in production, productivity, and profitability while reducing the risks of crop failure during bad years.

José Ruedell, a researcher and consultant, approached the corn crop as the most effective at protecting and recuperating soil. According to him, the soil quality is a vital component for agricultural productivity whose condition is created by rotating crops.

William Weber, from Embrapa’s soy and corn department, says that as farmers and an industry, everyone faces the challenge of increasing corn production in Rio Grande do Sul and exporting it. “First all for expanding ethanol factories and increasing exportation. We have the knowledge, capability, and incentive to face the farmers and the production chain’s daily challenge. The question remains, if everyone knows this, why aren’t they doing it?”

The forum coordinator Odacir Klein said he was very satisfied with the debates. “The participants showed scientific demonstration with qualified technicians that clearly explained the importance of rotating the soy and corn crops. If farmers don’t do this, it will cause serious problems in the future,” Klein warned.

Source: Expodireto Cotrijal Press Office

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