Brazil farm town's coronavirus lockdown could affect Bunge, Cofco


By Ana Mano and Jake Spring, Thomson Reuters

via WHBL (WI) - March 23, 2020


SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A town in the heart of Brazil's farm country has halted all non-essential services and ordered industrial sites, including agricultural processing facilities, to suspend operations in response to the coronavirus crisis.


The municipal decree ordering the closures was issued on Saturday by the mayor of Rondonópolis in Mato Grosso state, Brazil's largest producer of grains and meat. The order could face legal challenges as the federal government pushes to keep certain businesses open through the outbreak.


Chinese food conglomerate Cofco and U.S.-based grain trader Bunge are among companies that have plants in the city. Bunge and Cofco directed questions to oilseed industry association Abiove.


Abiove said all of its members in the area continue to operate normally and export logistics are not affected.


Several parties are negotiating with the Rondonópolis city government to attempt to resolve the issue, a person in the oilseeds industry said on condition of anonymity.


Aprosoja, a group representing Brazilian grain growers, warned that states and municipalities are enacting measures to curb the circulation of people that could "threaten the supply of food products, goods and diesel oil and automotive parts."


In a statement, Aprosoja called on regional governments to observe a federal decree issued by President Jair Bolsonaro last week as to what constitutes essential services.


Bolsonaro's decree states that production, distribution, commercialization, and delivery of food...