Brazil or Amazonian nuts are produced by the Brazil nut trees. The trees are only found in the wild and can grow to a height of 150 feet. They are mostly found in the Amazon forest that extends across Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia.
Efforts to domesticate the Brazilian nut tree has failed because it depends on a specific species of bees for pollination. Gatherers across the Amazon forest harvest the nuts. The annual production fluctuates depending on the environmental conditions and a standard method to project future output in non-existent. Bolivia is the dominant producer of the nuts, in the period 2017/2018, the country accounted for 78% of production. Peru producers 16% while Brazil produces a mere 2%. The global production dropped significantly during the year 2017/2018 due to unfavorable weather conditions. Between 2012 and 2016, the global production averaged 27,000 metric tons, a figure that dropped to 10,000 metric tons in the year 2017 / 2018.
Top Brazil Nut Consuming Countries
Although the Brazilian nuts are produced in South America, a majority are exported to Europe, the United States, Canada, and Oceania. In fact, none of the South American countries makes it to the top twenty consumers of the nuts. Bolivia is the largest exporter accounting for an average of 62%, Peru ranks second at 13 %, while Germany and the Netherlands each export 5% although both countries are non-producers.
The UK is both the largest consumer and importer or the Brazilian nuts. The country’s consumption has been on the rise for the past five years, growing from 3,900 metric tons in 2012 to 5,600 metric tons in 2016. The United Kingdom imports an average of 7,000 metric tons of the nut annually from Bolivia.The surplus nuts are processed and exported to other countries.
Germany is the second largest consumer and importer of Brazilian nuts. The country consumes an average of four thousand metric tons although it imports more than it consumes. In the past decade, imports have increased by 5,000 metric tons, up from 2,000 in 2006 to 7,000 in 2016. Germany consumes half of what it imports and exports the rest. In fact, Germany is the third largest exporter of the Brazilian nuts although it produces none domestically.
The United States is the third largest consumer and importer of the Brazilian nuts. Between 2006 and 2015, the US imported an average of eight thousand metric tons. However, the drop in production in 2016 limited the import to 3,700 metric tonnes. The US consumes slightly less than imports. The average consumption ranges between 7,000- 8000, but the figure dropped to 2,700 metric tons in 2016.
Trends In The Production And Consumption Of Brazil Nuts
The output of the Brazil nuts is susceptible to changes in climatic conditions. The highest output of 33,500 metric tons was achieved 2016/2017 while the lowest production of 10,000 metric tons was the 2017/2018 period. The fluctuating production affected the price of the Brazil nut globally, but the effects were more pronounced in the UK where prices have risen by about over 60%.