Food Challenges in Brazil
Brazilian Truck Strike
Brazilian truck drivers have been trying for years to improve working conditions, including wages which they feel are insufficient to make a decent living. This year, truck drivers are focused on the minimum freight prices which they consider too low. Another concern is a project called BR do Mar, which would support greater transportation between ports by sea, potentially affecting road transport.
A little over 2½ years ago, a similar strike crippled the Brazilian economy, bringing agricultural trading to a halt. Key exports such as poultry and soybeans could not get to port. The strike also prevented feed from reaching the farmers, causing livestock loss and other concerns.
In late January, the nationwide Brazilian strike was spurred on by support from Brazil’s National Confederation of Transport and Logistics Workers (CNTTL). Soon after, other unions lent support.
The Ministry of Infrastructure is keeping an open dialog with the Forum of Road Freight Transport. With constant meetings and communication, it is hoped that this strike will not repeat the 2018 crisis.
Economic Concerns as the Pandemic Escalates
In recent news, Brazil is restoring lockdowns on all non-essential businesses. A surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations following the Carnival celebrations in mid-February are causing major concerns for the Brazilian health system.
Authorities are tightening COVID-19 measures beginning March 5th. Curfews will be imposed, beachside venues must close, and restaurants can be open but with restricted hours. Travel restrictions remain in place but are open to modifications in response to the virus.
Global Food Prices Hit a 6-Year High
To make matters even worse for the Brazilian people, food prices have skyrocketed. Global food prices are making 6-year highs. These prices are fueled by demand from China, weather issues, and supply chain issues, largely pandemic created. Brazil is one of the top 3 countries experiencing huge price increases for food. Produce, baked goods, and more have taken the most drastic upturn in price in the past year. For example, rice has increased 76% while beef and dairy have increased by more than 20%. For many Brazilians, their only option is to buy smaller amounts of food and choose less expensive options.
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