Major Producing and Consuming Countries Argentina and Brazil

Oils and Fats in the Market Place

Soybeans provide an important source of oil - second only to palm oil – and of valuable protein meal used particularly for animal feed. The major producing countries for soybeans are in North (USA) and South America (mainly Argentina and Brazil). Production in South America has increased substantially in the last 10-15 years and production in Argentina and Brazil combined has exceeded that in USA since 2002/03. Differences between these two countries in respect of vegetable oil consumption and trade are related to the fact that they have very different populations of 40 million in Argentina and 194 million in Brazil. Brazil exports a lot of soybeans while Argentina exports fewer beans but more soybean oil. Both countries produce biodiesel (see section on biodiesel).

In addition to the dominant soybeans, Argentina is also a significant producer and exporter of sunflower seed oil and Brazil produces some cottonseed oil. Both countries have large animal populations and therefore produce and consume tallow.

Table 1. Oilseeds and vegetable oils (million tonnes) in Argentina and Brazil during 2011/12 and ten years earlier. figures from USDA Report of February 2013.
  Argentina Brazil
  2001/02 2011/12 2001/02 2011/121
    Production   44.75   70.20
      Soybeans 30.0 40.10 43.50 66.50
    Exports   8.17   36.46
      Soybeans 6.22 6.18 16.07 32.19
    Crush   39.61   39.95
  Vegetable oils
    Production   8.35   7.92
      Soybean oil 4.16 6.37 4.90 6.67
    Exports   4.64   1.94
      Soybean oil 3.64 3.92 2.10 1.70
    Consumption   3.58   6.45
      Soybeans 0.36 2.72 2.94 5.21

Updated March 2013