Rice and beans price drops in 1 year, but why are they still expensive?
- June 19, 2022
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Between June 2021 and May 2022, the price of rice fell by 10.27% and that of black beans fell by 7.21%, according to the IPCA (National Broad Consumer Price Index). Although the numbers point to a reduction in the last 12 months, prices are still high.
The report found in supermarkets in São Paulo the 5 kg bag of rice for over R$ 20 and the 1 kg package of black beans for about R$ 10.
Despite the decline in prices in the 12-month period, this year has already registered highs. Rice rose 2.59% between January and May this year. Black beans became 3.68% more expensive in the same period.
The increase is also seen in other types of beans: mulatinho (+4.99%), fradinho (+5.45%) and carioca (+28.46%). Check the details in the table below.
Weather affects production
The production of food grains has been impacted in recent harvests by weather conditions, such as drought and frost, say experts heard by the UOL. They claim that producers do not receive government support to invest in planting and, therefore, prioritize corn or soybeans.
For the economist of the Brazilian Institute of Economics of Fundação Getúlio Vargas (Ibre/FGV) Matheus Peçanha, the increase in the price of these products in 2020 is still reflected today.
That year, rice accumulated a rise of 76.01% and black beans, 45.38%, according to data released by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).
In 2021, there was a drop: rice fell 16.88% and black beans, 3.18%. “The offer conditions [favorecidas por questões climáticas ideias] improved to the point where there was a reduction. But that is changing this year,” he declares.
Rice crop declines
Conab (National Supply Company), an agency linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, estimates that the rice harvest in 2022 will be 9.9% lower than last year, with a projection of 10.6 thousand tons.
The agency says that the drop in production is a reflection of climate change and the replacement of the planted area by other more profitable crops.
In the case of black beans, Conab notes that production should exceed domestic consumption for the first time. In 2022, the demand for the grain should reach 520 thousand tons, while the harvest in the harvest is around 619.3 thousand tons – that is, a surplus of almost 100 thousand tons.
Second semester may have increases
According to Peçanha, the second half of the year may be marked by an increase in the price of rice and black beans, adverse harvest conditions and a change in consumption.
Conab declares that the increase in carioca beans has made Brazilian consumers choose black beans to compose their basic food basket.
The projections of escalating inflation – today at 11.73% – and the continuation of the war between Russians and Ukrainians also worry the specialist, who predicts a soaring in the value of commodities, such as rice and beans.
“It may not come close to the dramatic increases in April or May 2021 [o acumulado de 12 meses ficou em torno de 60%]. Brazilians’ income is weakened, and prices are on the rise. It is very difficult to replace these foods as there is not much difference between brands.”
Small farmer was left out
In addition to crop failure, there is a lack of incentive for small farmers, says Luciana Rosa de Souza, professor and coordinator of the postgraduate program in economics and development at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo).
According to IBGE data, 70% of the food consumed in the country comes from family farming — this includes rice and beans, for example. She believes that the lack of encouragement from the Michel Temer (MDB) and Jair Bolsonaro (PL) administrations makes the small producer dedicate his work to other options that guarantee greater security.
This goes directly through the closing of the PAA (Program for the Acquisition of Food), which gave way to Alimenta Brasil in the current government.
In practice, the former program promoted, in partnership with the Ministry of Citizenship, Conab and states and municipalities, two fronts: encouraging family farming and access to food for families.
The PAA bought food produced by family farming, without the need for bidding, and donated it to people in situations of food and nutrition insecurity.
“In the last seven years, the food policy has been dismantled. The small farmer is having a hard time surviving. The fluctuation in prices is very bad for the impoverished population”, says Rosa de Souza.
Public food stocks are low
According to the analyst, another important point of the program was the existence of public stocks of food produced by family farmers.
In May of this year, the stock of rice purchased by the federal government is 1,759 tons. Storage in the same period of 2012 was 460,238 tons, points out Conab.
In the case of beans, the stock has been zero since September 2016. “The dismantling of the PAA is directly related to the scarcity of beans because it was the small cooperative producers who produced beans to supply the domestic market. When this structure is dismantled, the risk of bean production increases”, says Rosa de Souza.
For her, prices may begin to decrease as soon as the government supports family farming and, above all, rebuilds the food policy.
“There is no way out of a situation of hunger and food inflation without public policy designed to guide production.”
Conab denies abandoning family farming
In a note, Conab states that the formation of stocks has the objective of offering maintenance to the income of the producer, and not guaranteeing prices.
“There is no information on the dismantling of a public policy on access to food based on support for family farming, nor on the reduction of product stocks. There have been no acquisitions for more than a decade and, consequently, no inventories have been created. This is all part of state policy, not government policy.
Also according to Conab, the action of the current government has been aimed at offering more information to all Brazilian producers.
Ministries do not comment
When contacted, the Ministry of Citizenship and the Ministry of Agriculture did not comment on the statements of dismantling of policies to encourage family farming and access to food for poor people.