Brazil lacks infrastructure.
Roads in the interior are few and railroads are not existent. But that is slowly changing and appears to be at a point where we might compare it to finalizing a transcontinental railroad across the United States in 1869.
The first time I saw the interior of Brazil was in 1983 with U.S. Agriculture Secretary John Block. The giant interior state of Mato Grosso only had one road running south to north. It was awful. In 2001, I went back and saw a much expanded agriculture, but BR 163 had potholes so large the bus and trucks had to drive around them. Then in 2008, I saw that the road was two lanes of concrete. Then in 2013 it had passing lanes on the hill, but still only allowed hauling of crops to the south – Three days of driving.
In the recent travels of Chris Clayton, national policy reporter with DTN/Progressive Farmer, the road is passable all the way north to the Amazon ports.
“About a week before we got there, in the last part of January, the new infrastructure minister made a point of riding along up on a truck on the R163 and stressing that the army was going to finish that road within the next year. There was really kind of a serious commitment, I think, from the new administration down there to Mato Grosso farmers and the Ag industry as a whole that they were going to get that road, particularly, paved. There’s at least another 50 kilometers that needs to be paved and they seemed pretty determined that they were going to get that done within the next year,” Clayton said.
This has been a long-term dream of farmers, almost 40 years, to get this passage out to the world. Once it is completed, other changes are likely to come more quickly.
AUDIO: World of Agriculture