BRAZIL – Trade in grains and fertilizer in Brazil is starting to resume to its pre-election levels following a call by the country’s outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro for his supporters to clear the blockades they had mounted with lines of trucks after his defeat in the presidential election.

The protests disrupted major roads used to transport grains to port cities raising fears that extended blockade of these trade routes could cripple the world’s largest agricultural exporter in moving soybeans, corn and coffee to ports.

Transportation of agricultural products was down by almost one-third as of the start of protests on October 30th compared to the previous week, reported a local provider of road freight.

 Of that, the number of trucks loaded with soybeans dropped by almost half, corn fell by 40% and fertilizer by 18%.

Meanwhile, soy facilities that process beans into animal feed and oil that – used in everything ranging from cooking to cosmetics – are also struggling to receive and send cargoes to ports.

Orange juice production has come close to a complete stop, as truck drivers are refusing to take on cargoes in order to avoid protesters.

The blockades also disrupted consumer goods supply chains creating a looming threat of empty shelves at supermarkets around Brazil. The supermarket group Abras had already reported shortages of some of these products.

With the president’s appeal, all federal roads were clear of blockades on Thursday evening, according to Brazil’s Federal Highway Police, although protesters were still partially blocking highways in 24 locations in five states, down from 126 previously.

“Everyone is suffering from the closed roads. I ask you to clear the roads and protest elsewhere,” Bolsonaro said.

On a positive front, Carbon Brief forecasts that Lula’s victory could cut deforestation in the Amazon by 89% over the next decade.

President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva  has addressed Brazil’s significant deforestation problem in the Amazon after winning Brazil’s election on Sunday. He has pledged a more robust stance on environmental action to take place over the next four years.

“Let’s fight for zero deforestation,” he remarked in his victory speech. “Brazil is ready to resume its leading role in the fight against the climate crisis, protecting all our biomes, especially the Amazon rainforest.”

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