A few days ago, my fellow journalist Roy Graber at WATT Global Media blogged about politics and animal ag. He said how egg prices do not mix well with politics, in reference to Ron Estes, a Republican representative from Kansas blaming the Biden administration for high egg prices, overlooking the fact that the layer population in the U.S. has been severely impacted by avian flu, as well as high commodity prices.
Well, last week, after Jair Messias Bolsonaro’s presidential election loss in Brazil, it was reported that the Brazilian poultry industry was in jeopardy because of road blockades. While Bolsonaro was still deciding whether to accept or deny the election results, his supporters decided to block roads. There were 460 road blockades in 22 states and the Federal District. There were three bottlenecks: feed transportation to farms, animal transportation to processing plants and distribution of finished products.
Apparently, 45% of poultry processing capacity had to stop, and poultry farms were about to be without feed, as well as part of the 25 million one-day-old chicks would need to be sacrificed and hatching eggs discarded.
Contrary to what happened during the 2018 truck drivers strike, there was neither time nor warning for the poultry industry to be prepared and minimize the impacts.
So, what was the point of the blockades? Yes, probably to blame the winner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, but they were affecting the industry that has been supported by Bolsonaro’s government these last four years. Bolsonaro himself attended the International Poultry and Swine Show (SIVAS) opening ceremony last August, in clear support of the sector.
Bolsonaro requested his supporters to stop blockades. In the end, road blockades did not cause major impacts to the poultry industry. However, I still don’t understand why this was done. Both, Lula’s and Bolsonaro’s supporters need to eat. It was a matter of food security and potentially increasing prices in an already damaged economy with high inflation rates.
Paraphrasing my colleague and friend Roy Graber, I can respect other ways of thinking in politics, but I would hope people would think twice before damaging food supply with political issues.
What do you think?