With less than a month to go before Brazil’s coffee harvest is due to start, second-generation farmer Paulo Lagazzi frets he may not have enough field-hands to pick his entire crop before beans fall from their trees and start to rot.
In normal times, the 61-year-old would have reached deals with 40 to 50 seasonal workers by now and started laying plans to bring them in by private coach from elsewhere in Minas Gerais state or neighboring Bahia state. But these aren’t normal times, with lockdowns the world over threatening to impact every step of the global food supply chain.
Lagazzi can tick off all the headaches that’s caused: Closed borders between states and municipalities mean some or all of his workers may not be able to get to his 500-hectare (1,235-acre) plantation. And say they do arrive, Lagazzi struggles to figure out the best way to house them.