Brazil's Atlas 'superfoods' business bolstered by capital market incursion - Reuters - 2 minutes read

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SAO PAULO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Privately owned grain trader Atlas has raised 100 million reais ($19.39 million) in the local capital market so far this year to grow its Brazilian "superfoods" business, a market where large trading firms will not venture, an executive said.

Superfoods, or low-calorie grains with high nutritional values, also include pulses like lentils, dry beans and chickpeas.

"The superfoods exporters will be new entrants," Bernardo Garcia, Atlas' chairman, said in an interview late on Tuesday. "The big traders are focused on traditional commodities."

With virtually no competition, Atlas aims to become a leading Brazilian superfoods exporter, betting it can thrive on a niche market that grows by 4.5% annually and which it identified ahead of others.

Proceeds from Atlas' funding round are being used by the Mato Grosso-based company, founded two years ago, to increase sesame purchases from local farmers.

Atlas is already processing sesame and selling it in export markets, where it gets about $1,700 per tonne, Garcia said.

Completion of Atlas' funding effort comes as Brazilian farmers start to look for new ways to profit from the land.

Domestic sesame production, for example, has been growing by 50% on average since 2018. Output can potentially reach 120,000 tonnes in 2022 as plantings rapidly grow, Atlas said.

While Brazil remains a small producer of sesame and other superfood types, it has potential to rank among the world's biggest suppliers.

That is because Brazil's sophisticated farmers are uniquely positioned to produce and sell higher-margin crops on a massive scale, overtaking smaller agricultural nations which lack such competitive advantage, Garcia said.

Brazil's sesame output still pales in comparison with Sudan's, the world's biggest supplier, which reaps 1.5 million tonnes per year, according to Atlas.

But Brazil can grow production to 1 million tonnes in only five years, with the company positioned to export 10% of that, Garcia said.

Source: Reuters

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