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July 2024

Brazil ag minister says auction to import rice ‘not necessary’

By Eduardo Simões and Leticia Fucuchima

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -The Brazilian government will no longer need to buy imported rice, Agriculture Minister Carlos Favaro told a local TV channel on Wednesday, after the plan attracted flak from local farmers.

“Prices have already dropped,” Favaro said, adding the government will continue monitoring the market. “As there is no speculation, in my opinion, new auctions are not necessary.”

Last month, Brazil’s national crop agency Conab canceled the results of a controversial rice auction over doubts about the winners’ financial capability to honor their commitments. The government said then it would hold a new auction to purchase imported rice, but stopped short.

A new measure to expand rice production in the country will include an options contract which would allow local farmers to sell the cereal to the government under certain market conditions, Paulo Teixeira, minister for agrarian development and family farming, said during an official event on Wednesday.

He also said the government will allocate 2.4 billion reais in the 2024/25 crop cycle to buy agriculture products, including rice.

In last month’s rare auction, Brazil had committed to purchase 263,370 metric tons of imported rice for 1.32 billion reais ($57.6 million). The goal was preventing a price hike after historic floods in the top producing state Rio Grande do Sul, which submerged entire towns, killed livestock and disrupted harvesting of crops like corn and soy.

According to Favaro, Brazil’s Plano Safra farm credit program, to be announced later in the day, will offer loans to increase rice production in the flood-hit state, as well as in others.

($1 = 5.5537 reais) QR Code

Published Date: July 3, 2024

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