By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday morning Mendes Ribeiro Filho was named as the new Minister of Agriculture. He replaces Wagner Rossi, who stepped down on Wednesday after being implicated in the corruption scandals that have lately befallen the Ministry of Agriculture.

The new Agriculture Minister, Mendes Ribeiro Filho, Brazil News
The new Agriculture Minister, Mendes Ribeiro Filho, photo by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr.

The Chief Minister of the Civil House, Gleisi Hoffman, made the announcement on behalf of President Rousseff who is away in São Paulo until this afternoon. She confirmed that on the President’s return to Brasilia, she will meet with the new minister and decide on a course of action.

The 56 year old law graduate Ribeiro began his career in politics in 1974 as an activist for the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB). He went onto to act as State Deputy for legislature in four different years, and prior to his appointment as Agriculture Minister, he occupied the post of Chief of Government in the National Congress.

Agriculture accounts for 8 percent of the Brazil’s GDP, and employs about one-quarter of the labor force. A report published in May 2011 shows Brazilian agribusiness export revenue totaled US$81.3 billion, up 20.4 percent from the year prior, with cotton among the largest industries.

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