In Brazil, Bolsonaro, hero of the soybean planters
Never mind the scorching sun and the suffocating heat: at the start of an August afternoon, the Taffarels were gathered in full force on the veranda of the large family home. Around a coffee and a slice of ass, a cake filled with chocolate, there are half a dozen presents. Among them, Jadir, 57, rough-hewn face; his father, Waldir, a sympathetic octogenarian who is a little hard on the leaf; his two daughters Camila and Teane; and her grandson, just a few months old. Four generations of soybean growers united under one roof.
Their story ? That of modest farmers in the southern state of Parana. Encouraged by the military dictatorship (1964-1985) wishing to populate the vast Brazilian interior, the Taffarel landed in 1978 in Sinop, acronym for Real Estate Company of North-West of Parana, entity created by the junta to colonize the region, and which will give his name to this town heart of the State of Mato Grosso. A hostile land, covered with tropical forest, at the southern limit of the Amazon. 2,500 kilometers from the coast, the experience turns into a nightmare. “We grew coffee and then rice. But it didn’t pay off.”recalls Jadir.
Our “Best Years”
In the 2000s, everything changed. The Taffarel convert to soya and, very quickly, get rich. No more misery: the operation is now fully mechanized. The large family home is equipped with high-speed Internet, a swimming pool and a pretty ornamental garden. The girls went to college and the family regularly tours Europe. She has the means: on only 450 hectares of land, the Taffarels manage to harvest 1,800 tons of soybeans and 3,600 tons of corn each year. Either a gross income of at least 1.6 million euros.
“We are living the best years of our existence! », exults Jadir. His clan first benefited from soaring soybean prices, the price of which has doubled since the Covid-19 crisis. “But the one we thank above all is Jair Bolsonaro”, insists the farmer. In Sinop, the champion of the far right obtained in 2018 a score of 77% of the votes: ” He is the first and only one to have fought for us. Here, everyone loves it. For sure, he will win on October 2, ” date of the first round of the presidential election which opposes him to Lula, the former head of state, candidate of the Workers’ Party.
135 million tonnes in 2021
In these vast plains of the Brazilian Center-West, Bolsonaro’s popularity is at its highest. Unlike a gloomy Brazil, these regions live at the time of an economic miracle. In 2021, Mato Grosso’s GDP grew by 5%, driven by soybeans, real green gold and the locomotive of local agriculture. With 38 million hectares planted (more or less the equivalent of Germany) and 135 million tonnes harvested in 2021, Brazil is the leading producer of pulses. It derives nearly 35 billion euros in export revenue.
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