Brazilian officials expect the coronavirus outbreak to spark a rise in global agricultural protectionism as countries seek to secure local food supplies, according to a draft report from the agriculture ministry seen by Reuters.
The report flags a range of concerns related to “agriculture nationalism,” including the possibility of countries imposing export restrictions, subsidies and other policies to favor domestic agriculture industries.
The concerns emerged during the ministry’s recent consultations with 23 agricultural attachés stationed in Brazilian diplomatic outposts around the world.
Brazil has become an agricultural powerhouse in recent decades on the back of globalization. The country is the largest exporter of soybeans, sugar, coffee, orange juice, chicken and beef, and is a fierce competitor with the U.S. farm sector in several products.