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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Brazil’s Federal Ag Agent Strike Could Hurt Corn Exports

Brazil’s federal agricultural agents, responsible for approving certificates allowing for the export of agricultural goods, have gone on strike - an occurrence that Sergio Mendes, director of the National Association of Cereal Exporters, Anec, called “the worst thing that could happen” to grain exports.

Nationwide, it is estimated by the Federal Agricultural Agents’ Union (Anffa) that 70% of its workers have walked off their jobs, but at the Port of Santos, 100% of the federal agents were on strike.

Because planting of soybeans has just begun in the country, the strike will have little effect on soybean export volumes, but if the strike continues, it could have significant effect on corn exports.

Since every importer requires a separate certificate, Brazilian corn shipments require more certification than soybean shipments because of the various destinations for Brazilian corn compared to soy. These certificates are usually issued after cargo leaves the Brazilian port, meaning that shipments that are traveling the shortest distances are at the greatest risk of not having the necessary certificates upon arrival. If this happens, a corn shipment would be refused permission to unload at its destination creating delays that can cost exporters up to US$30,000 per day.

Aside from corn, some shipments of pork, eggs, and poultry have been delayed by the agents’ strike, according to the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA).

Negotiations are ongoing between Anec and the agricultural agents at the Port of Santos, while concurrent negotiations are being held in Brasilia with the goal of bringing a swift end to the strike.

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