Brazil allocates $68 bn to agriculture sector

Brasilia, June 5 (IANS/EFE) The Brazilian government has announced that it is increasing the amount of money available for subsidized loans to the farm sector by 18 percent to 136 billion reais ($68 billion).

With that financing, it is seeking to guarantee a "big increase in production levels", President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Antonio Andrade said that this plan will finance the entire production and marketing cycle, everything from seed and feed for livestock, to machinery, harvesting, storage and product distribution.

Loans for farmers and ranchers will be provided at below-market interest rates ranging from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

The government also announced an additional investment of 500 million reais ($250 million) to improve and broaden the operations of Conab, the government entity tasked with making government food purchases intended for schools and social programs.

Andrade said that, in addition, the government will free up another 25 billion reais ($12.5 billion) in the next five years to finance the construction of private food warehouses.

That investment is aimed at improving the capacity to store grains and other products, a sector where the country is significantly lacking.

According to government figures, current storage capacity is about 145 million tonnes and during the 2012-13 period that was not enough to be able to store the full grain harvest, which was calculated at 184 million tonnes.

--IANS/EFE

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