The Brazilian agribusiness sector is expected to close out 2005 with a loss of revenue of some US$ 10.6 billion (24 billion reais), according to the president of the Organization of Cooperatives (Organização das Cooperativas Brasileiras) (OCB), Márcio Lopes de Freitas.
The reasons, according to Freitas, are bad weather, lower prices for some Brazilian commodities on international markets and an unfavorable exchange rate.
"It was a hard year," said Freitas. His organization, with its 7,363 associated cooperatives, felt the impact. However, he says that the sector as a whole will grow 3% this year, with OCB member exports up US$ 2 billion over last year.
Freitas complained that cooperativism is not getting the assistance it needs – and has been promised. But even so, the sector grew over 10% in 2005: "We grow anyway," he declared.
He did praise the Congress for supporting the sector. The Parliamentary Front for Cooperativism played an important role. He pointed out that members of Congress were more aware of the fact that any social inclusion efforts must include cooperativism.