Government Doesn’t Speak for Us, Say Brazilian Farmers in Hong Kong

A funny thing happened to minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, as he was making his way through the streets of Hong Kong to the 6th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization last week.

He saw a group of Brazilians participating in a demonstration against more liberal rules for international trade. What is going on here, thought Furlan, as he realized that the Brazilians had joined French farmers in protesting free trade in agricultural produce?

More free trade in agricultural produce is the single most important objective of the Brazilian government in all its commercial negotiations.

And the biggest obstacle to the Brazilian desire for market access for it own agricultural produce, and that of other developing nations, has been the French refusal to eliminate its farm subsidy program.

European subsidies, led by the French, distort the market, creating obstacles that stymie developing nations exports and, in some cases, even destroy domestic developing nation markets because the highly-subsidized European goods are so cheap, explained Furlan.

What the poor nations need is market access so they can earn income and, eventually, even buy goods from the rich nations, said Furlan.

Speaking to journalist about his disconcerting experience with the Brazilian protestors, Furlan pointed out that Brazil is the world’s biggest exporter of poultry and one of the biggest exporters of pork.

Now, said Furlan, poultry and pork are mainly family farm products in Brazil. So why are Brazilians joining European small farmers in protesting free trade?

An answer came from Alberto Broch, of the National Farm Workers Confederation (Contag), who says, "The Minister represents only 10% of Brazilian farmers. We represent three million family farmers who produce subsistence crops, or maybe a little for the local marketplace, and no more. Minister Furlan does not represent these people, he does not speak for them."

Broch went on to say that an example of the problems the really small farmer faces is with dairy produce. That market has been opened and if import tariffs on dairy goods fall below 10% it will put 1.8 million family farmers out of the dairy business, he says.

Statistics from the Family Farm Federation (Fetraf) show that in Brazil 40% of the agriculture sector GDP, and 10% of total GDP, comes from family farms.

There are approximately 4.5 million family farms in Brazil. Out of that total, 4 million occupy less than 30% of the country’s total cropland and get less than 30% of the credit that is available for the sector.

Tsunami Award

Brazil and another four nations should receive today award "Special Recognition for South-South Solidarity" for the country support to the recovery and reconstruction of the countries in southeast Asia that were affected by tsunamis at the end of 2004.

The ceremony will take place at the United Nations offices in New York. The award will be given by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Brazil was chosen due to the country prominence in private sector contributions. The other four countries honored are China, Algeria, Benin and Samoa.

ABr

Tags:

You May Also Like

Brazil: Only Truth Will Put Ghosts of Dictactorship to Rest

Secrets and lies have failed as the basis upon which Brazil can overcome the ...

US Tour Operator Sued for Selling Sex with Minor Indian Girls in the Brazilian Amazon

Four Brazilian Indian women, allegedly sex trafficked as minors by an American fishing tour ...

Brazil Expects Foreign Tourists to Spend More than Ever this Year

According to Brazil’s Central Bank, foreigners visiting Brazil spent US$ 314 million, in September, ...

Operation Anti-Corruption in Brazil Leads to More than 1000 Arrests

Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, defended political reform for the sake of ...

New York Group Brings Brazil’s Nelson Rodrigues to the Stage in Portuguese with Overtitles

During his lifetime, Brazilian playwright Nelson Rodrigues (1912-1980) was an innovator in Brazil’s theatrical ...

Kitchen on Wheels Teaches Brazilians How to Be a Frugal Chef

All 27 Brazilian states can now count on the Brazil Kitchen Project. The final ...

Free TV Electoral Campaign in Brazil Is Measured in Hundredths of a Second

Free political campaign advertising has started this Tuesday, August 17, in Brazil. Like the ...

Cicex Wants to Be Brazil Exporter’s Right Hand

The Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, inaugurated yesterday ...

Brazilian Associations Get Help on Obtaining Green Seal

Of the 62 forest management units in Brazil that possess what is referred to ...

Brazilian Indians Win This Round. They Can Stay.

The chief justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court, Carlos Ayres Britto, suspended three repossession ...