Virtual water trade is often considered a solution for restricted water availability in many regions of the world. Brazil is the world leader in the production and export of various agricultural and livestock products. The country is either a strong net importer or a strong net exporter of these products. The objective of this study is to determine the volume of virtual water contained in agricultural and livestock products imported/exported by Brazil from 1997 to 2012, and to define the water self-sufficiency index of agricultural and livestock products in Brazil. The indexes of water scarcity (WSI), water dependency (WDI) and water self-sufficiency (WSSI) were calculated for each Brazilian state. These indexes and the virtual water balance were calculated following the methodology developed by Chapagain and Hoekstra (2008) and Hoekstra and Hung (2005). The total water exports and imports embedded in agricultural and livestock products were 5.28 × 1010 and 1.22 × 1010 Gm3 yr-1, respectively, which results in positive virtual water balance of 4.05 × 1010 Gm3 yr-1. Brazil is either a strong net importer or a strong net exporter of agricultural and livestock products among the Mercosur countries. Brazil has a positive virtual water balance of 1.85 × 1010 Gm3 yr-1. The indexes used in this study reveal that Brazil is self-sufficient in food production, except for a few products such as wheat and rice. Horticultural products (tomato, onion, potato, cassava and garlic) make up a unique product group with negative virtual water balance in Brazil.
Keywords: Exports and imports; Virtual water balance; Water dependency index; Water trade.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.