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Truckers Strike Causes Supply Shortages at Brazil’s Major Soybean Export Terminals

One-time strike supporters now criticizing truckers.

RIO GRANDE Do SUL, Brazil-- Brazil’s trucker strike is lasting more than one week.

The Brazilian government agreed to reduce by decree the cost of diesel, cut fuel taxes, and reduce toll plaza fees for extra axes on trucks.

The president of the Brazilian Association of Autonomous Truck Drivers, José da Fonseca Lopes, called on all truckers Sunday (May 27) to end the strike, but some truckers did not want to follow the union leader’s recommendation and continue to block roads.

Currently, over 100 roads are still blocked and most of them are at the heart of Brazil soy production. Thirty in Mato Grosso, 84 in Paraná, and 95 in Rio Grande do Sul, but most public services and distribution of gas have reorganized.  

President Michel Temer already ordered the country’s federal police to remove protesters.

Last Friday and over the weekend, the strike left millions of people out of gas in major cities, including Sao Paulo, and small towns.

The major ports of Santos, Paranaguá, and Rio Grande, the three major exporters of soybeans, were not working.

Santarem in the North and the ports of the state of Santa Catarina in the south were also not loading.

The Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (Abiove) announced that production of meal and biodiesel is at a standstill due to the truckers’ strike.

The worst economic effect generated by the strike is that an estimated number of nearly 1 billion chickens died and thousands of hogs could not be slaughtered.

The grain sales stopped due to the uncertainty in terms of logistics, economic policy, prices, etc.

“No trading company wants to sell now without knowing any of the conditions,” analyzed Carlos Cogo, an independent consultant with government experience, based in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.

Several farm associations that previously defended the strike stepped back and started to criticize truckers.

The Mato Grosso Association of Cotton Growers issued a press release supporting the strike. “The heavy taxes on diesel, the weekly increases on diesel prices need an urgent revision by the government,” read the press release.

Antonio Galvao, president of the Association of Soybean Growers of Mato Grosso, told Agriculture.com that his association started all campaigns with the quote, “If you ate, please thank a farmer and a trucker that transported your food,” supporting the strike, but that he is against any illegal blockade of highways and anything that could generate economic losses.

Ivan Rizotto, a corn, soybean, and wheat farmer from Ijui, Rio Grande do Sul, the biggest concentration of truckers protesting, stated his anger about the current situation of the country. “Politicians raise taxes and want us to do what they want. Let’s invert this thinking. Let’s pay tax, but make these politicians work for ourselves, not for their own interests,” said the farmer to Agriculture.com.

But Rizotto said that he is against making it impossible for some people to have access to food.

 

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