- Posted by Rafael Moro
The price of rice is at the center of the debate. Traditional, it cannot be missing from the Brazilian table. Each person consumes, on average, 34 kilos of rice per year. It is the third most consumed food only after coffee and beans.
Current national production is 10.4 million tons, or 46% higher than this demand per inhabitant. Thus, it is possible to supply up to 50 kg per inhabitant. But this situation could be very different. The National Union of the Industry of Products for Plant Defense (Sindiveg) proposes to think about the following situation: imagine if the annual production of this cereal dropped to just 1 million tons. There would be only 5 kilos of rice available for each inhabitant of the country.
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The consequences would be an exponential increase in prices, an intense impact on exports and the demand for large imports to reduce the domestic supply deficit. Food chaos would damage the population's diet, which would be forced to alter its nutritional base by other products.
"Rice is an important food in the diet not only of Brazilians, being a source of carbohydrates, proteins and fibers necessary for a healthy life. With the eventual reduction of this production, the explosion of prices would also affect the main substitutes for the cereal: corn and potatoes , for example, in addition to wheat derivatives, such as bread and pasta ", says Eliane Kay, executive director of Sindiveg.
But is the risk of running out of rice real?
According to Eliana, supply problems represent one of the impacts that pests and diseases can cause on rice cultivation. "Weeds, as well as insects and fungi, are reasons of great concern for producers, who already suffer from constant climatic variations. All of this directly affects the planting, development and harvesting of the cereal, damaging the quality and quantity of available grains ", he highlights.
For this reason, the fight against pests, diseases and weeds is essential not only to reduce the losses of producers, but also to enable the regular supply of food, meeting the demand of the population. Rice grass, one of the common crop problems, can destroy 90% of plantations if left untreated. A single specimen can produce up to 40 thousand seeds, causing a dispute for nutrients, water and light.
Rice cultivation is not just impacted by this enemy. There are several others, such as brachiaria grass and tiririca, weeds that need attention, as well as insects, such as the riceworm, the rootworm and the root aphid. In fungi, the concern is with blast, scald and brown spot.
According to Sindiveg, insects, weeds and diseases that hinder rice cultivation require special treatment. The rational use, following the technical and package insert recommendations, of pesticides (herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) is the most effective way to prevent and treat phytosanitary problems without reducing productivity and production quality.
The Gross Value of Rice Production is R $ 8.8 billion, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). About 95% of production is concentrated in eight states: Rio Grande do Sul (69%), Santa Catarina (10%), Tocantins (6%), Mato Grosso (4%), Goiás (1.6%), Maranhão (1.5%), Paraná (1.3%) and Rondônia (1.2%).
* with information from the press office