Brazil is set to become the world's most powerful nation for agricultural production and plans to target the UK and Europe with higher volumes of meat, according to a new report.

Brazil has traditionally been held back by government bureaucracy, supply chain inefficiency and logistical problems that have hampered its progress in international markets, according to consultants Supply Chain Europe.

But now producers were gearing up to supply global markets and eyeing EU companies as potential takeover targets, said co-author Andrew Morgan.

Marfrig (see below), Sadia and Perdigao were already on the acquisition trail, he said.

Brazil's food processing sector accounts for some 10% of the country's GDP, with most of this in the hands of large and medium-sized companies.

Brazilian producers were aware they needed to be part of a fully integrated international supply chain and thoroughly address traceability issues such as those that led to the EU ban on beef earlier this year, Morgan claimed.

Brazil's climate, land availability, technological capability and large pool of young agricultural professionals gave the country a powerful advantage, the report said. The country already ranks second in the world for beef production, third for chicken and fourth for pork.

"I see Brazil developing significantly on meat, fish, grain and other products," added Morgan.

He also claimed that while Brazil had traditionally been somewhat inward looking, globalisation had made it much more aware of the value of international trade and the export market. Although the country had a large population to feed, there was huge land availability to increase agricultural production, he added.

About 11% of beef imported into the UK comes from Brazil, amounting to more than 25,000 tonnes last year, according to the MLC.