Insider

Bolsonaro protests stir divisions within Brazilian agribusiness

President Jair Bolsonaro receiving plaudits from agricultural producers in Sinop, Mato Grosso.
President Jair Bolsonaro receiving plaudits from agricultural producers in Sinop, Mato Grosso. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Multiple organizations representing agricultural producers published a statement on Monday, expressing their concerns about Brazil’s “political and institutional harmony, as well as its economic and social stability.” The statement comes as a way to keep President Jair Bolsonaro at a safe distance — considering that the head of state has become a sort of international pariah in regards to his environmental policies (or lack thereof).

The organizations behind the statement feel they are being harmed by a minority of producers which engage in illegal deforestation and tarnish the entire sector’s international reputation. Among the signatories of Monday’s statement is Abag, the Brazilian Agribusiness Association — whose chairman said in 2020 that Brazil lives under an “environmental (dis)government.”

Those views are, however, far from dominant among producers and President Jair Bolsonaro still enjoys massive support within the sector. Aprosoja, an association of soybean producers, has even financed organizers of the September 7 pro-Bolsonaro demonstrations — which many likely participants say will demand the shutdown of the Supreme Court.

Abag’s move in signing the pro-democracy statement has stirred revolt among some of the producers it represents — many of whom say the entity is only defending the interests of banks and industries at the end of the production chain, and not the entire productive sector.