By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s government announced on Monday (June 22nd) it would make available R$28.9 billion (over US$9.3 billion) for the 2015/2016 Family Farming Harvest Plan. The volume of resources is twenty percent greater than that made available in the 2014/2015 harvest season. The announcement is part of a ‘positive agenda’ by which the government hopes to salvage its dwindling popularity.
“We have expanded credit to family farms so that they may continue to grow and strengthen, guaranteeing food security for our population,” said President Dilma Rousseff during the ceremony to announce the plan.
According to Rousseff family farms are essential to ‘put food on Brazilian tables’. The President said that the program shows the country the government’s commitment to the sector.
The Ministry of Agrarian Development says there are 4.3 million family farms in Brazil today, which produce approximately seventy percent of all the food consumed by Brazilians. The sector is responsible for 33 percent of the agribusiness production in the country today.
The announcement of the Harvest Plan is part of the Rousseff Administration’s so-called ‘positive agenda’ along with the already announced 2015/2016 Agribusiness and Livestock Plan and the Logistics Investment Plan. Another part of the agenda is the third stage of the Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life) housing program, expected to be announced by the beginning of the second semester.
With the ‘positive agenda’ the government hopes to win back some of the popularity Rousseff has lost since the beginning of her second term in office. According to the latest polls, the Rousseff Administration has a 65 percent disapproval rating. According to the Datafolha Institute, which conducted the poll, Rousseff has the lowest approval rate of any Brazilian president since September of 1992, when former president Fernando Collor de Melo was impeached.