Pro-Bolsonaro protests slow corn transport in Brazil

Demonstrations began when incumbent Lula won the October 30 election
calendar icon 22 November 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Truckers and other demonstrators protesting the electoral defeat of President Jair Bolsonaro are hampering the transport of corn in Mato Grasso state, the heart of Brazil's farm country, Reuters reported, citing two farmers on Monday.

Mato Grosso highway police reported 11 demonstrations on Monday morning, with roads blocked or partially blocked on four federal highways near farmers and grain processing facilities.

Brazil's top public prosecutor authorized the governor of Mato Grosso to mobilize police to clear highways of protesters.

The protests have hampered transport of some corn from farmers to ports and storage facilities, but the quantities could not be determined. The slowdown could have knock-on effects as warehouses need to be emptied ahead of a January soy harvest.

"It's actually a race against time. Clean the corn warehouses so you can start reaping soybeans," Mato Grasso farmer Evandro Lermen told Reuters.

The blockades are also delaying deliveries of farm inputs needed for planting of Brazil's second corn crop early next year, he added.

While farmer Cayron Giacomelli supports the protesters' cause, he said the blockades have prevented him from moving his corn, and he will not receive payment until he delivers it.

"We give full support to protesters, but we are being harmed," Giacomelli said.

Demonstrations by truckers and other Bolsonaro supporters started after leftist President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won the October 30 election. He takes office on January 1.

Brazil's farmers have been a key constituency for Bolsonaro, but not all back continued demonstrations.

Global companies like Cargill, Bunge and Cofco operate in Mato Grosso.

At the southern port of Paranagua in Parana state, a blockade on an access road that backed up trucks on Sunday night was lifted on Monday, according to a port agent and an association representing firms that operate at Paranagua.

They said the there was little disruption to the flow of goods. Authorities are also trying to curtail demonstrations in the states of Santa Catarina, Para and Rondonia.

Farmer Endrigo Dalcin said there was little corn and soybeans left to move in Mato Grosso but said storage of the next soy crop may be complicated if protests continue.

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