lack of rain it punishes plantations and causes losses for rural producers in the South and part of the Midwest. Corn, soybeans and pastures are among the crops already affected by the drought that gained strength in the final stretch of 2021.
The drought worries the governments of Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Mato Grosso do Sul, which on Monday (3) discussed possible aid measures with the Ministry of Agriculture.
After the meeting, the folder stated that it is evaluating the possibility of intermediating with financial institutions the extension of payment of debts to rural producers in these states.
In Paraná, the lack of rain has already damaged the first corn crop and part of the soybean crops. There are also records of losses in pastures, fruits and vegetables, among other crops.
So far, the estimate is for a loss of R$ 16.8 billion due to the prolonged drought, indicates the State Secretariat for Agriculture and Supply.
In December, the government of Paraná extended the water emergency scenario. The measure authorizes sanitation companies to implement rotation in municipalities where the supply system is compromised by the drought.
In Rio Grande do Sul, 138.8 thousand rural properties have already suffered losses as a result of the lack of rain, points out Emater-RS, which provides technical assistance and rural extension services to farmers in the state. The number considers losses booked until December 30th.
The most punished crop so far is corn, according to the technical director of Emater-RS, Alencar Rugeri. According to him, there are plantations where losses reach 100%.
Corn is suffering more because crops are at a more advanced stage in Rio Grande do Sul compared to crops such as soybeans, according to Rugeri. There are also reports of damage to pastures and fruit production in the state.
The number of municipalities in the State of Rio Grande do Sul in an emergency situation has already surpassed the one hundred mark. “Corn has more losses so far. Soybeans still have recovery potential,” says the director.
In Santa Catarina, the main concern is also with corn at the moment. On properties in the west of the state, part of the crops registered losses in the range of 50% until December, according to Haroldo Tavares Elias, socio-economic analyst at Epagri (Agricultural Research and Rural Extension Company of Santa Catarina).
“It rained very little in December,” he reports.
Producer Magdiel Kretschmer, 36, laments the effects of adverse weather. He says that he lost almost all the corn that had been planted in September in an area of seven hectares of his property, located in Mondaí, in the extreme west of Santa Catarina, about 650 kilometers from Florianópolis.
The drought also damaged pastures, which increased the difficulties for the producer to feed dairy cattle. So Kretschmer was forced to trade 15 of his cows about 15 days ago. He kept 45 animals on the property, responsible for producing milk for the industry.
The farmer hopes for the return of rain in the coming weeks. “We expect it to rain to be able to plant the off-season corn now. If that doesn’t happen soon, we will lose the cycle, because there is a risk of frost later on,” he says.
In Mato Grosso do Sul, Governor Reinaldo Azambuja (PSDB) decreed an emergency situation in 79 cities in the state due to drought. The measure is valid for 180 days. The document was published this Tuesday (4) in the Official Gazette of the State.
In a statement, the local government stated that “the intention is to contribute to the productive sector, which has already started to feel the damage” of the lack of rain. The measure opens the way for producers to activate insurance and renegotiate debts.
Effects of La Niña
According to meteorologist Francisco de Assis, head of weather forecasting at Inmet (National Institute of Meteorology), the dry period in the South and Midwest can be associated with the La Niña phenomenon.
This phenomenon is known to affect rainfall distribution, impacting wind circulation and humidity. When it is registered, the tendency is for a drought in the Center-South region of Brazil.
According to Assis, the forecast signals a slight improvement in the rainfall scenario for Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul in the first half of January. Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina tend to continue in an “irregular” situation during this period, says the technician.
The drought occurs when Bahia suffers the reflexes of heavy rains between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. The situation caused floods, leaving a trail of destruction in the northeastern state.
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