Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply Antônio Andrade on February 11 officially opened the 2013-14 harvest season at a ceremony in the city of Lucas do Rio Verde in the state of Mato Grosso, and released new data on an anticipated record year for Brazilian agriculture. This season, Brazil anticipates a harvest of 90 million tons of soybeans, which would earn it a title as the world leader in soybean production.  Brazilian farmers are also bringing the country closer to becoming the largest food producer in the world, as they expect to harvest approximately 193.6 million tons of grain this season.

Speaking at the ceremony, Rousseff said: "We celebrate today the victory of agribusiness in Mato Grosso, Lucas do Rio Verde, and in Brazil. We also celebrate the so-called vertical integration, which has produced, transformed, and created a large hub for agribusiness in our country. We know it has made a large difference for Brazilian agriculture, which makes us proud. These are the increasing gains of productivity, which we cannot abandon."

New survey data from the Strategic Management Advisory Board of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (AGE/Mapa) reveals that the agribusiness gross domestic product (GDP) of Brazil is expected to reach BRL1.03 trillion (US$4.3 billion) in 2014, which is 4 percent higher than last year. If the anticipated results are met, the sector's GDP will have expanded by 34 percent in 10 years.

The survey also predicts that as crop production grows, the gross value of production (GVP) is also expected to increase to the highest ever achieved in the country, totaling BRL314.8 billion (US$131 billion).  This amount would be a 10 percent increase over 2013 and the first time GVP would surpass the BRL300 billion (US$124.8) mark in Brazil.  The combined GVP of crop production and livestock breeding is expected to reach BRL462.4 billion (US$192.4), up 7.5 percent from last year's result.

According to the Ministry, Brazil's Agricultural and Livestock Plan 2013-14 is the largest and most comprehensive in history, representing an investment of US$136 billion - an 18 percent increase over the previous harvest. Of this total, US$91.2 billion (67 percent) was dedicated to the harvest between July and December 2013, representing an increase of 50 percent over the same period during 2012.

Brazil's agribusiness sector has additional growth prospects, particularly as international markets for products such as maize and meat opened in 2013. Last year, the sector exported US$99.97 billion, which represented more than 40 percent of all Brazilian products sold to other countries.  In 2014, Brazil's agribusiness industry is expected to surpass US$100 billion in exports.