Feb 25, 2020

84% of Municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul in State of Emergency

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in recent memory. Weeks of no rain and record high temperatures have devastated crops and livestock in the state. The state is usually the second or third largest soybean producing state in Brazil and Brazil's largest rice producer.

The Civil Defense agency in the state of Rio Grande do Sul reported that 418 municipalities in the state have declared a state of emergency due to the drought. The state has a total of 497 municipalities, so 84% have declared emergencies. The National Water and Sanitation Agency (ANA) indicated that the drought has been in place for one year and four months, since October of 2020. Currently, the only longer period of drought in Brazil is one year and seven months in southern Mato Grosso do Sul.

Rio Grande do Sul is now rated as 9% in extreme drought and 57% in grave drought by the Brazilian National Weather Service. The driest areas are the northern and western regions of the state.

Emater estimates that 253,000 farmers in the state have been impacted by the drought and that 22,000 rural families are without access to water. Approximately 92,800 corn producers, 82,400 soybean producers, and 27,289 dairy producers have been significantly impacted by the drought.

Earlier this week, the state Secretary of Agriculture met with representatives of family farmers to discuss how the state could help mitigate the impact of the drought for small landowners.

Small family farmers have been especially hard hit by the drought and state agencies along with the federal government, are creating programs to meet those family's needs. An emergency credit program has been set up to help farmers pay their production loans since they basically have no crop to sell. They have also created an emergency fund to help rural residents meet their basic needs and to receive zero interest loans of up to R$ 10,000 per family.

Estimates are that the summer corn and soybean crops will be cut by half or more due to the drought. The next chance for farmers to produce a crop will be the winter wheat crop which they will start planting in about two months.