Lula’s actions irritate agribusiness, and the PT’s relationship with the sector is still on the way

Lula’s actions irritate agribusiness, and the PT’s relationship with the sector is still on the way

The performance of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) at the beginning of the government has not pleased a large portion of agribusiness. Members of the government say that the sector has made progress —especially in the international market.

On the one hand, rural producers complain about an emptying of the Ministry of Agriculture, on the other, the government makes frequent nods to the environmental cause. The conflicts make it even more difficult to pave the way for a reconciliation between Lula and a sector strongly influenced by former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

Agribusiness was already waiting for a management that gave more priority to the preservation of the environment in relation to the previous one, but the expectation was that the representative would be more committed to the mission of strengthening bridges with the sector.

It is common in all governments for internal disputes to exist between the ministries of the Environment and Agriculture. This was one of the main reasons, for example, for Marina Silva’s resignation from the environmental portfolio in 2008, when, among other situations, she entered into a collision course with colleagues for being against the idea of ​​easing the restriction of agricultural credit to those who deforested without an environmental license and without registering the property.

In his third term, Lula is showing signs that he does not intend to run the risk of losing Marina once again, who returned to head the portfolio 15 years later.

Along these lines, the president strengthened the Ministries of the Environment and Agrarian Development and weakened the Ministry of Agriculture.

The portfolio responsible for dialoguing with agribusiness lost command of several areas in relation to the last government — such as the state-owned Conab (National Supply Company), fishing (which became a ministry) and cooperativism.

The role of the ministry is now more focused on overseeing food production and agricultural policy.

The Ministry of Agrarian Development, in turn, was recreated and strengthened. The portfolio is responsible for the question of cooperatives, for Conab and for the Land Management System, which was at Incra (National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform).

As head of the Agrarian Development portfolio, the federal deputy elected by the PT, Paulo Teixeira (SP), was chosen.

At Conab, the PT nominated former state deputy and candidate for governor in 2022 of Rio Grande do Sul Edegar Pretto, who has a historical connection with the MST (Movement of Landless Rural Workers).

Members of the Ministry of Agriculture and the ruralist group allied to try to reduce the portfolio’s weakening. This can be done with political articulation in Congress

According to politicians linked to agribusiness, the strength of the head of Agrarian Development in the government was clear at a recent meeting about the drought in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

The meeting took place at the Ministry of Agriculture, which has historically dealt with the subject and is headed by licensed senator Carlos Fávaro — but it was Teixeira who led the meeting.

Ruralists also complain that the Minister of Agrarian Development has stated, in an interview with Sheetthat the titles given by Bolsonaro to settlers are “bread paper” and have no legal value.

This indicates that he considers null the main action of the previous administration in the area of ​​agrarian reform, the distribution of property titles to settlers.

Another criticism from the sector is that the Rural Environmental Registry left the Ministry of Agriculture and went to the Ministry of the Environment, which raises fears that Marina Silva’s portfolio may make it difficult for producers to access the environmental regularization program.

Members of the government say that the measures adopted by Lula have changed Brazil’s image abroad and this has generated progress in the area.

The government has pointed out that, in the first month, China qualified another 25 Brazilian meatpackers to export to the country. Indonesia, in turn, enabled 11 Brazilian beef slaughterhouses.

Meanwhile, Lula resumed an agenda of bilateral relations with Germany, Europe’s largest economy, and one of the main agents to unlock the Mercosur agreement with the European Union.

For members of the Ministry of Agriculture, the main challenge will be to continue showing that the government will act relentlessly with illegal deforestation and that the sustainable agenda has gained more and more space.

After visiting Argentina, Uruguay and the United States, Lula should go to China, Brazil’s main trading partner.

Despite the rapprochement with countries that consume Brazilian products, ruralists are still skeptical about the effect of Lula and Marina’s image on agribusiness abroad.

Sector businessmen are still focused on internal issues and say that Lula’s performance this year is not consistent with the conduct of the PT campaign last year.

Due to the great Bolsonarist influence, agribusiness was elected as one of the main challenges of the then candidate for the Presidency of the Republic.

To create bridges with the sector, Lula approached former deputy Neri Geller and Fávaro. Both became responsible for dealing with agribusiness with Lula and for reducing resistance to the PT among rural producers and organizations in the area.

Once elected, Lula named Fávaro minister, but thwarted Geller’s move to become head of Conab.

Points criticized by the agro

  • Conab and Incra left the Ministry of Agriculture for MDA (Ministry of Agrarian Development)
  • MDA minister signaled to annul titles given by Bolsonaro to settlers
  • Rural Environmental Registry went to the Ministry of the Environment

Advances on the international front

  • Indonesia authorized 11 Brazilian beef slaughterhouses to export to the country
  • China authorized 25 more Brazilian slaughterhouses to export
  • Bilateral meetings between Brazil and Germany, Europe’s largest economy

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