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Farmers march in Brazil protest

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by Brian Turner
Farmers march in Brazil protest

In Brasilia on Tuesday over 10,000 farmers marched past the palace of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in an attempt to draw government attention to the worst farm crisis in Brazil in at least 10 years.

Prices for several crops have fallen sharply in the past year while Brazil’s currency has gained over 25 percent since last year’s crops were planted.

The head of Aprosoja, the soybean growers’ association, Jose Rogerio Salles, said that while costs were calculated with the real at R$3.20 to the dollar, crops are currently selling at R$2.40 to the dollar.

With soybean prices down 47 percent and cotton prices down 35 percent, farmers stand to lose over R$10 billion this year.

The farmers are asking for aid to assist in refinancing their expenditures for this year’s harvest, but finance minister Antonio Palocci has said that the government does not have the money to help.

According to one economist, Brazilian farmers are more at the mercy of market fluctuations than American and European farmers, with no insurance and no subsidies.

In addition, a drought in the south of Brazil has meant the loss of 15 percent of the grain crop, further hurting farmers.

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News posted: June 28, 2005

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