By Ana Mano
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Private grain trader Atlas (NYSE:) has raised 100 million reais ($19.39 million) on the local capital market so far this year to expand its Brazilian “superfoods” business. “, a market where large commercial companies will not. company, said an executive.
Superfoods, or low-calorie, high-nutrition cereals, also include legumes like lentils, dried beans, and chickpeas.
“Superfood exporters will be new entrants,” Bernardo Garcia, Atlas chairman, said in an interview Tuesday night. “Big traders focus on traditional commodities.”
With virtually no competition, Atlas aims to become a leading Brazilian superfood exporter, betting it can thrive in a niche market that’s growing at 4.5% a year and that it identified before others.
Proceeds from the Atlas funding round are being used by the Mato Grosso-based company, founded two years ago, to increase sesame purchases from local farmers.
Atlas already processes sesame and sells it in export markets, where it fetches about $1,700 a ton, Garcia said.
The completion of Atlas’ funding effort comes as Brazilian farmers begin to look for new ways to profit from the land.
National sesame production, for example, has increased by 50% on average since 2018. Production can potentially reach 120,000 tonnes in 2022 as plantings expand rapidly, Atlas said.
Although Brazil remains a small producer of sesame and other types of superfoods, it has the potential to rank among the top global suppliers.
Indeed, sophisticated farmers in Brazil are in a unique position to produce and sell higher-margin crops at scale, overtaking smaller farming nations that lack such a competitive edge, Garcia said.
Brazil’s sesame production is still paltry compared to that of Sudan, the world’s largest supplier, which harvests 1.5 million tonnes a year, according to Atlas.
But Brazil can increase production to 1 million tonnes in just five years, with the company able to export 10%, Garcia said.
($1 = 5.1586 reais)