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Brazil Farmers Worry About Presidential Race Results

The Brazilian presidential election may be an issue that has worried grain farmers from the center-western states of the country day and night. Environmentalist candidate and member of the Brazilian Socialist Party, Marina Silva, is tied with incumbent Dilma Roussef both with 34% of the vote if the elections were held today, according to a recent poll from Datafolha. Aécio Neves, the center-right candidate of the Brazilian politics spectrum, dropped to third place with 15% of the preference. This scenario practically guarantees a run-off. In this likely run-off, Silva would beat Roussef by 10 percentage points. 

Silva is recognized as the third way, but also known as hawkish on environmental regulations that could curb the Brazilian grain production near the Amazonian region. Earlier this year, Kátia Abreu, a senator and then president Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil, expressed major concerns of a possible government of the third way candidate.

"We've had a period of terror with regard to environmental issues. Farmers were transformed in rivers of CO2, the polluters. I totally attribute to her the leadership of that process. She had zero complacency with rural producers. [...] We've tripled the productivity without increasing deforestation. In the meantime, she transformed the Environment Ministry into an NGO. She was there to defend international NGOs. As minister, Marina Silva had never received me or my proposals for environmental projects", told the senator in January talking about the Foresting Code discussion and Marina Silva's term as Natural Environmental Minister.

In an event last week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Blairo Maggi, a corporate farmer and a senator in Brazil, also known as the soybean king, shot very aggressive words on that presidential candidate.

"She is stubborn, disguised, personalistic, messianic... If she is elected, the only promise that I want her to fulfill is that she does not run for a second term. It is disaster for our sector. I saw it when she was a minister", said Maggi.

Ana Amélia Lemos, a senator from Rio Grande do Sul and favorite candidate to win the governorship of that state, has a more skeptical view of Silva in a possible federal administration.

"Being a president is very different than being a minister. I think she would not be so naive to hold the same positions. Marina will have to work together with Congress. She might know that inflation is controlled by supply and that the farm business is the stronger sector of our economy", opined her to at Expointer, a major agricultural fair in the state.

Lemos also mentioned the fact that the former Natural Environment minister picked Beto Albuquerque, a representative that is from Passo Fundo, a traditional soybean area in Rio Grande do Sul, as a way to show her will to dialogue. 

In this same logic, opined Jorge Rodrigues, a member of the directorship of the Federation of Agriculture of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. "Either person as president will have to deal of the wishes of all Brazilians and not an specific sector. Agriculture is the most important of our economy and the population depends on it", told Rodrigues.

Roberto Rodrigues, former Agriculture minister under president Lula, highlighted in Buenos Aires that for the first time in history all the top presidential candidates sought the support of the farm business and showed interest for the issues of the sector. "This is very important. The rural sector does not have enough votes, but it has to charge for their commitments", he affirmed.

Marinal Silva was the Natural Environment minister of Brazil from 2003 to 2008. In the past, she already expressed being against the use of genetically modified soybeans. As a candidate, the contender affirmed that she changed her position on the issue.

Silva tried to create a new party called The Sustainability Network last year. As she failed to reach the legal requirements to create a new party, she was invited by then presidential candidate Eduardo Campos to be a running-mate with the Brazilian Socialist Party. Campos died suddenly on a jet crash that tragically killed six other people on August 13. As a result, Silva gained momentum after the accident.   

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