Good afternoon everyone. In this opportunity I would like to discuss about food self-supply or it usually called as food self-sufficiency at Brazil especially for oranges and orange juice commodity. Human beings have a number of needs that have to be satisfied in order to live in full. In this sense what is more are water, air, cloths, shelter, and food. Food plays an important role as one of the human satisfier of a basic need, nourishment.
Before I continue to discuss about oranges and orange juice at Brazil, I would like to introduce a term with what is called as food self-sufficiency. Based on FAO, 1999, the concept of food self-sufficiency is generally taken to mean the extent to which a country can satisfy its food needs from its own domestic production. Then in 2016, Clapp said that food self-sufficiency is focused on the supply or availability component of food security and is concerned with ensuring that the country has the capacity to produce food in a sufficient quantities to meet its domestic needs.
Brazil is one of country that categorized as food self-sufficient country beside Argentina, Canada, Australia, and Germany. The country which still have food deficit problem are Liberia, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Haiti. The key point is that a country called as food self-sufficient country when they produce an amount of food that is equal to or greater than the amount of food that they consume.
Food availability in Brazil is more than sufficient for its entire population. Brazil not only plays an important role in food production but also it is famous in food trade (Source: IISD, 2010., Neves and Trombin, 2011). Regarding with international trade, Brazil is the main agricultural exporter products, like oranges and orange juice, coffee, beef, chicken, sugar and ethanol at the first position in the world, soy (beans), soy (middling), soy (oil), and corn at the second position, pork and cotton at the fourth position and milk at the seventh position. Because Brazil produces and exports the biggest number of orange juice, so I choose this commodity to be discussed.
Interestingly enough, world production of oranges destined for juice production is concentrated in two states: Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Florida (United States). These two states combined produce 90% of the world’s supply of orange juice. But, the productivity gain in orange juice production at Sao Paulo Brazil is more stable from year to year compare with Florida (United States). Orange juice production has decreased slightly at Florida (United States) in 2004/2005 due to bad weather (hurricanes) and the spread of diseases. The hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 and 2005 caused damage to orange groves and downed the fruits. There is also diseases called citrus greening that negatively affected productivity (Source: Chaddad, 2016).
Talk about Brazilian citrus belt, it is an area covering over 300 counties in Southeastern Brazil. The citrus belts is divided into five macro regions: Northwest around 30,35 million trees, north 25,81 million trees, central 76,28 million tress, south 30,66 million trees, and Castelo 41,57 million trees. In total there is around 1.3 million hectares orange farming, is the third most important agricultural activity in the state, behind sugarcane and livestock. The reasons that make Brazil is the most important citrus-producing region are suitable soil, available water, adequate rainfall, topography, available and qualified labor force, and availability of inputs like fertilizer.
To know does Brazil can export the oranges and orange juice to other countries or not, first we should know how much its current consumption and production of oranges and orange juice in Brazil. Current consumption of fresh oranges in fruit is around 4.081.224.000 kg of fruit, and current consumption of fresh oranges in juice equivalent is around 2 million liters of juice (Source: Prepared by Markestrat, based on data from the IBGE and CitrusBr in Neves and Trombin, 2011).
Brazil is the world’s largest producer of oranges and orange juice and export almost 80% of the frozen concentrated orange juice (FCOJ) consumed in the world. Brazil produce around 18 million tons of oranges and around 2 million tons of orange juice in 2010/2011 (Source: Elaborated based on data from FAO (2015) and USDA (2015). This production value is bigger than the number of consumption, so they can export to other countries. Europe stands out as the foremost destination for exports of Brazilian orange juice around 43% -72% from 1970 until 2010. After that North America, Asia, then other continents (Source: prepared by Marketstrat based on Cacex, Banco do Brasil, Siscomex and SECEX/MIDC). However in the last decade, Brazil has managed to diversify the markets in which it trades. This is the strategy for finding new channels for offloading national production.
But, then let see more details to the number of fresh oranges export from 2000 to 2010. There is a problem. There is a trend where the number of oranges export are decrease and not stable year by year. From 3.421.150 to 989.565, from 2.21.043 to 751.326, from 1.219.331 to 937.678 and so on. (Source: prepared by Marketstrat based on Cacex, Banco do Brasil, Siscomex and SECEX/MIDC in Neves and Trombin, 2011). Although the decline is not slightly but if there are no serious effort to make better, it will decline continually by time.
Then, Brazil find the solutions to increase orange productivity so they can export more. Some of them are make better in planting technology, advance nurseries, routine disease management, research development, good laws, skillful labor, advance industry, and diversify the market. Brazil do better seedling treatment in nurseries like specializing in seedlings that important part of the business, vegetative propagation, and give special substrates on seedlings.They prepare better seedlings from screened nurseries. Seeds are handled to farms, where they will be planted to start producing 3 years later. Greenhouse are used so the seedlings received the best care while they’re still young. Worker caring for the plant before it reaches the point of being taken to an orchard, when its productive life will begin. And the result is adult orchards from huge oranges mazes, where millions of boxes will be harvested. They also do diseases management. Technician look for imperfection and diseases all the time. So when there is an indicator of disease they can prevent it earlier, so disease outbreak will not happen. Then they also do irrigation. Nearly 130.000 hectares are already irrigated.
Because of my background is silvicultural, I will focused just at one of their strategies, i.e. they planting more trees per area or in another word increase the density. From 250 trees per hectare in 1980 to 357 trees per hectare in 1990, and 476 trees per hectare in 2000, then 850 trees per hectare. Hope that more trees will give more fruits.
Higher density of orange trees, is it the best decisions? Be careful, every species has its own characteristic to grow well. Let us learn from another countries. There are a lot of research about “spacing” when we cultivate orange trees, from Florida, Brazil at the last years before, California, Japan, Spain, Italy, Mexico and others. And these are the common spacing used: 3.05 m x 4.57 m; 3.35 m x 6.71 m; 3.66 m x 4.57 m; 3.81 m x 7.62 m; 4.57 m x 7.62 m; 4.57 m x 6.10 m; 5.49 m x 5.49 m; 5.49 m x 7.32 m; 6.10 m x 6.71 m. Source: from many research study of orange at Florida, Brazil, California, Japan, Spain, Italy, Mexico (Source: Tucker & Wheaton, 1987; Wheaton et al., 1995; Agrilink, 2007; Agriculture Republic of South Africa, 2009). Then let’s compare them to what Brazil do now. If there are 850 trees/hectare, it means the space is around 11-12 m2. Or around 3.31 m x 3.31 m to 3.46 m x 3.46 m in space. It is too close in space or too much trees per hectare. When we plant trees in very high densities, beside the establishment cost were higher, management become more difficult, it also will impact to the trees become crowded too quickly, and increase the competition of nutrition, water, space between individuals. When the competition is high, every single tree only can absorb small amount of resources. The negative impact is the growth will decrease (dwarf). The crowded tree make the trees canopy is overlapping, especially at the middle part of the canopy, then there will be no fruit, and or fruiting moved higher to the canopy. The closer spacing require the possible removal of every second tree when they grow together and production starts to decline (thinning). Besides that, the decisions on planting densities should be made in relation to vigor of tree growth, soil fertility, and water availability.