Image of plantation punished by drought (Photo: publicity / Canal Rural)

To help the productive sector, Governor Reinaldo Azambuja decreed a state of emergency in the 79 municipalities

Image of plantation punished by drought (Photo: publicity / Canal Rural)

The heat wave and drought that hit some crops in Brazil have already left a loss of R$ 45.3 billion in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Santa Catarina. To help the productive sector to recover the losses due to the drought, Governor Reinaldo Azambuja (PSDB) decreed a state of emergency in the 79 municipalities.

In force for 60 days, the decree allows the farmer to activate the insurance, extend the period for payment of debts with banking institutions and obtain state and federal aid. According to Aprosoja/MS (Association of Soybean and Corn Producers), 26% of crops, equivalent to 970 thousand hectares, are in poor condition.

According to the Canal Rural website, soybeans and corn, the main grains on the list of Brazilian exports, are the crops most affected by the drought. Rural producers ask for debt rollovers and interest-free lines of credit.

Producer João Merlo, 68 years old, estimates a loss of 50% due to the lack of rain since the end of last year, in his soy plantation, in the region of Dourados. Soybean, planted between September and October, had a much lower grain filling than expected. “We had many hot days and no rain, so half of the productivity went down the drain,” he said.

The producer cultivates 750 hectares and takes all the care he considers necessary to obtain high productivity. “I have been working with soybeans for 35 years and, although it is a resistant crop, it needs moisture. We planted the floodplain area in September and the ridge in October, but the production will not cover the cost,” he said.

According to agronomist and agricultural consultant Haroldo Pradella, in the Dourados region, due to the drought, soybeans are ripening 20 days before the appropriate time. “A crop that had the potential for 60 or 70 bags per hectare, today will produce around 30 or 35. Loss around 50%,” he said.

The productivity estimate of soybean crops was revised from 56.38 bags per hectare to 53.69 hectares. The forecast represents a retraction of 14.56% in relation to the forecasted harvest, which is equivalent to 1.04 million tons – a loss of R$ 1.6 billion. The impact was greater in the south, south-border, southwest and southeast regions, according to the president of Aprosoja/MS, André Dobashi.

The Secretary of Environment and Agriculture of Mato Grosso do Sul, Jaime Verruck, said that the drought was directly related to the harvest numbers, since the rainfall rates are far below average. “Our estimate was to reach 12.77 million tons, but throughout the harvest we had the problem of a very strong water crisis in December, especially in the border region, between Dourados and Ponta Porã, where the most affected areas are. With that, we should have production around 12.16 million tons”, he said.

According to him, often within the same municipality there are areas that have had rains, while others have suffered from drought. “Today, we already have at least a thousand requests for agricultural insurance,” he said. In the south of the state, those who planted soybeans a little later still caught the rains that had fallen in recent days in order to help the crop. “I planted it in November and the soybeans reacted well to this week’s rains. I saw that the plants are loaded with pods and I’m betting that the production will be good”, said farmer Erica Vilhalba dos Santos, secretary of the Rural Union of Antônio João, on the border with Paraguay.

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