SAO PAULO, June 9 (Reuters) - The first shipments of
Argentine corn have begun to arrive in Brazil to where a
national crop failure, record high prices and high demand from
the meat industry has made companies such as BRF Brasil Foods SA
and JBS SA turn to imports.
A shipment of about 35,000 tonnes landed at the end of May
at the port of Paranaguá and a second shipment of about 30,000
tonnes arrived in Rio Grande in the middle of last week,
according to the maritime agency Cargonave.
Another four ships should dock this month, Cargonave said.
"Ships have already arrived and they have been unloaded.
There are also imports of wheat, not just corn, for animal
feed," said Ricardo Santin, president of the Brazilian Animal
Protein Association (ABPA), in an interview.
Prices of feed for produce pork and chicken have risen
steeply, he said.
JBS, the giant of the meat sector, is receiving a ship with
30,000 tons of Argentine corn in the port of Imbituba, the
company said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
BRF, the world's largest poultry exporter, confirmed to
Reuters that it was importing Argentine corn, but declined to
Cooperativa Central Aurora Alimentos, Brazil's third-largest
meat processor, said it was studying purchases from Argentina
but has not done so yet.
All in all, Brazil is expected to import 191,000 tonnes of
Argentine corn by ship in June, almost double the 103,000 tonnes
purchased last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry.
In the first four months of this year, Brazil already
imported 758,000 tons of corn, up almost 70% from the year-ago
period, almost entirely bought from Paraguay and shipped across
the border by truck.
The imports are expected keep growing during the year, even
though the second and largest Brazilian corn crop harvest is
about to pick up speed.
(Reporting by Nayara Figueiredo and Roberto Samora; Writing by
Anthony Boadle; Editing by Richard Chang)