There’s a raging controversy in Brazil about the use of natural ethanol as an additive in motor fuels. The debate has been given extra sharpness lately by the proposal to increase the ethanol content in gasoline (petrol) from twenty-five percent to 27.5%.

On the one hand the Cane Sugar Industry Union (UNICA) claimed the move will have no ill effects and will even benefit engines, the economy and the environment generally while reducing Brazil’s need for imported petroleum.

On the other hand, ANFAVIA, the Motor Manufacturers’ Group say that the extra ethanol will damage both engines and the environment and therefore the petroleum percentage ought to be maintained.

The issue is being evaluated by the Ministry of Energy but a final decision is not expected soon.


The important Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro is set to receive a total of 235 billion US Dollars in private and public investments. This huge sum will be applied across the two years from this year (2014) to 2016.

The figure has been calculated and announced in the recent survey ‘Decision Rio’ published by ‘Firjan’ –the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro. The grand total quoted represents an increase of eleven per cent over the previous equivalent period.

By far the largest share of the overall amount is for the oil and gas industries which will receive an estimated US$ % 143 billion.


Alecrim have qualified for their first ever Brazilian Cup after securing a third place finish in the Rio Grande do Norte State Championship.  Needing a victory at home to Baraunas to qualify for Brazil’s national cup competition, the EcoHouse-sponsored team held a 2-1 lead going in to the last five minutes.

However it appeared all was lost in the 88th when Vitor scored for Baraunas, but the Alecrim players never let their heads drop and just one minute from the final whistle, striker Rodrigo da Lua scored the decisive goal to send the home crowd wild.  The Alecrim players can now look forward to potentially facing some of the top teams in Brazil next season, in what will be the club’s centenary year.

“I want to thank the fans and all those who worked so hard to be part of this fantastic achievement.  In 2015 Alecrim will celebrate its 100th birthday, and as a fruit of the hard work everyone has put in, we will compete in a huge national competition.  Everyone in the Alecrim family has once again showed their strength and achieved yet another objective, participation in the Brazilian Cup.  The hard work continues!” said Alecrim President and EcoHouse CEO Anthony Armstrong Emery.


Guido Mantega, Brazil’s Minister of Finance reassured the country today after a sharp rise in inflation for March. Mr. Mantega explained that this spike in the figures is only temporary and is accounted for by a recent surge in food and transport costs that is sure to subside soon.

The national Consumer Price Index the IPCA jumped by 0.92 % for March, certainly a worrying increase. However, the annual figure of 6.15% is still within the countrys pre-set tolerance limit of six point five per cent.

The Minister and his team ( and indeed everyone else in Brazil) will be keeping a close eye on the situation in future to see if their optimism is justified.

Chinese Project In Brazil Delayed

Three years ago a large Chinese corporation pledged to invest the equivalent of US $ 2 Billion in Brazil. The Chongqing Grain Group declared and published plans to build an agricultural processing plant (and linked infrastructure) for soybeans in Bahia State. However, up until now, April 2014, very little has actually been done and the ground for the eventual facility has scarcely even been cleared.

Needless to say this slowness is very disappointing for almost everyone concerned. However, the Bahia State Government seems relaxed about it all. The Agriculture Spokesman, Josalto Alves said that it was just a question of the “normal processes” of planning and authorisation taking time to be completed.

It’s rumoured that (like some other similar projects) the development may not proceed in reasonable time, if at all.

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Investment in The Brazilian Fishing Industry on The Increase

The fishing industry in Brazil is not always regarded as being important but it should be. It is, after all, an important occupation involving around three and a half million people, directly or indirectly. They operate all along the country’s 8,500 Km coast plus in or on numerous inland rivers, waterways, reservoirs and lakes.

In fact, the ‘inland’ sites are extremely effective and mile for mile are much more productive than the coastal waters. This is partly because many of the maritime areas have been heavily harvested for many years and are seriously ‘thinned out’. In some cases they have been over-fished almost to extinction by large industrial fishing operations. This isn’t true of all offshore fishing grounds of course but it is a notable feature of a growing number. Despite all this, in absolute terms the raw total of production from the coast is still about two thirds of the national output. The total of fish from all sources has been steadily around 800,000 tonnes per year in recent times.

The organisation of inland fisheries incidentally tend to be rather smaller-scale than Atlantic ones, often based on individual or family based work. As well as structured ‘fish-farms’ these types of enterprises ( sometimes called ‘artisanal’) are a main feature of freshwater fishing.
Regarding potential for expansion in the industry, it’s generally thought that so-called ‘aquaculture’ or fish farming is the best way forward and currently produces around three-quarters of total inland yield.

Actual consumption of fish varies widely across the country but, unsurprisingly, is heaviest in the Amazon basin or along the coastline. For example, it’s calculated that in the former area, annual consumption per head is at least 30 kg. This is around three times the overall national average, which itself has increased rapidly in recent years due to massive government campaigns to increase consumption. Of course, 200 million people eating on average 9kg per year require far more fish than can be produced within the country’s fisheries. Inevitably, that means large-scale imports of course.

Paradoxically, Brazil is also an important exporter of fish. The answer to this apparent contradiction is that much of the local or national production is either not of the required type for Brazilian use or can more easily be transported to nearby ( technically ‘foreign’) markets than other, more distant, consumers who are technically within the vast country.

Investment in Brazilian fishing tends to be large scale along the coast where the big companies operate and more ‘micro; in nature along inland waterways. There are however a number of emerging investments that are becoming very popular in Brazil. The Minha Casa Minha Vida social housing project is currently attracting lots of investors thanks to Anglo-Brazilian property giant EcoHouse Group who allow direct investment through their global offices. Porto Alegre is the place to watch in 2014 with a number of social housing projects planned.

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Success for Brazilian Federal Police against drug smugglers

On Monday of this week the Federal Police in Brazil carried out a large scale raid at the port of Santos near Sao Paolo. Following extensive investigations since last year, the FP swooped on Monday on a container-ship operation that intended to export cocaine (and associated equipment). Target destinations were apparently Cuba, Africa and Europe.

The scam involved smuggling the narcotics on board in individual back packs without knowledge of the owners of the vessels .  They were then to be hidden in legitimate containers for recovery at the eventual destinations.As well as arresting 23 people, the Police seized 3.7 tonnes of cocaine, 230,000 euros in money, ten vehicles, a boat and 21 firearms.