Brazilian farmers from 12 states and the Federal District will meet tomorrow, June 29, with President Lula.
They intend to solicit emergency measures to resolve the problem of unpaid debt that is affecting the sector, due to the poor returns of the most recent harvest, as well as other solutions to help the 2005/06 crop.
The president of the National Confederation of Agriculture (CNA), Antônio Ernesto de Salvo, and the presidents of the federations in the 12 biggest grain-producing states in the country will travel to Brasília for the meeting with Lula.
The farmers, who are responsible for 40% of the country’s annual exports, 30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 40% of the jobs, allege that the government’s harvest plans fail to meet their real needs. They are also organizing a massive demonstration tomorrow in Brasília.
According to de Salvo, the farmers have a month to begin preparing the soil, which should be seeded in October, when the rainy season begins.
If their demands are not met by the government this week, the result will be the collapse of the sector, which is “responsible for the economic stabilization of the country,” affirmed the president of the CNA.
Approximately 20 thousand farmers will participate in the demonstration in Brasília with around a thousand trucks and two thousand tractors.
During the event the farmers will protest production costs, the drop in agricultural prices, production losses due to climatic problems, the lack of crop insurance, losses due to out of phase exchange rates, and the difficulty of obtaining loan extensions through individual negotiations, in view of the current situation of overdue loan payments.
They want longer payment periods on loans to purchase pesticides, fertilizers, machinery, and other agricultural inputs from private suppliers.
Another complaint is the lack of logistics and infrastructure for storing crops and getting them to market, as well as the prohibition for Brazilian farmers to acquire cheaper pesticides from other Mercosur countries and the losses incurred as a result of Brazil’s importation of agricultural products from the other members of the bloc.
ABr – www.radiobras.gov.br