April 13, 2024
Latin America Barley Market

Golden Harvest: Exploring the Latin American Barley Market

Latin America’s Growing Barley Industry

The Rising Production and Export of Barley in Latin American Countries

Barley production has been increasing significantly in many Latin American nations over the past decade. Countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico have seen major growth in their barley crops and are now exporting much more of this cereal grain globally. Let’s take a closer look at the trends in some of the top barley producing countries in Latin America.

Argentina Leads the Way in Barley Production

As the largest barley producer in Latin America, Argentina has cemented its position as a major global supplier of this crop. Barley cultivation in Argentina has more than doubled over the past 10 years, reaching over 5 million tons in 2020. The prime barley growing regions are in the central and northeastern parts of the country where fertile soil and ample rainfall provide ideal conditions. Malting barley, used to make beer, whiskey and other beverages, makes up around 70% of Argentina’s barley crop. Major export markets include China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Russia, with barley shipments increasing 10-15% annually from Argentina’s ports. Looking ahead, farmers are expanding barley planting into new areas and improving yields through the introduction of higher-yielding varieties. Production is forecast to surpass 6 million tons by 2025 if market conditions remain favorable.

Brazil Boosts Barley Output to Supply Growing Animal Feed Industry

As a major cattle and poultry producer, Brazil has been ramping up domestic barley output to support animal feed consumption within the country. Barley production rose sharply over the past decade, doubling to over 1.6 million tons in 2020 from only 700,000 tons in 2010. Much of Brazil’s barley is now grown in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Parana and Santa Catarina where climate suits winter barley cultivation. Due to the ban on genetically modified crops in Brazil, non-GMO barley varieties are preferred to avoid contamination issues. As the meat industry continues to expand at a rapid pace, analysts project Brazil’s barley sector could reach 2 million tons or more within the next 5 years to satisfy strong local demand from feedmills and livestock producers nationwide.

Chile Becomes a Significant Barley Exporter

Despite having a relatively small domestic market, Chile has emerged as a major barley exporter thanks to ideal growing conditions, efficient production systems and trade access to key Asian importers. Chilean barley output has risen three-fold in the past decade to over 1 million tons yearly. The crop is mainly concentrated in the Coquimbo and Valparaiso regions in central Chile which experience cool, rainy winters suitable for European two-row malting barley. With production costs lower versus major suppliers in North America and Europe, Chilean barley has captured market share in key buyers like China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Major port facilities near production areas efficiently handle exports and keep Chile competitive. If recent yield gains continue through improved agronomic practices and variety selection, Chile’s barley industry appears poised for further export-led expansion.

Mexico Builds on Long History to Meet Regional Demand

As the second largest economy in Latin America, Mexico represents an important existing and potential market for barley. While production has remained relatively stable at 500,000 to 600,000 tons annually, Mexico has a long history of barley cultivation dating back to pre-Hispanic times. Much of the national crop is grown in the northern states of Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California which have sufficient irrigation water available. Domestic demand is driven by the brewing industry, with Grupo Modelo and Heineken Mexico requiring large volumes of malting barley annually for beer manufacturing. Mexico also supplies neighboring countries in Central America with barley, exporting around 30,000 tons regionally. With population and economic growth forecast to continue across Mexico and Central America, steady increases in barley production will likely be needed to satisfy ongoing demand for beer and other products manufactured from this important cereal.

Rising Exports Fuel Growth Across the Region

Taken together, the trends across Latin America barley producing countries point to an industry experiencing significant gains driven largely by rising exports. With abundant land resources, improving agronomic practices, efficient logistics chains and access to markets in Asia and elsewhere, countries in the region have leveraged competitive advantages to boost barley crops and shipments dramatically over the past 10 years. This export-oriented model appears likely to sustain further production increases well into the coming decade barring any major global trade disruptions or supply chain issues. As populations increase and diets shift to include more animal proteins across developing world destinations, steady international demand exists to support continued growth of Latin America’s burgeoning barley industry into the future.