Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Monday that her administration plans to invest around $250 million in grain silos to address what has become a major problem for the country's vital agricultural sector.
"We will expand, and by a lot, the capacity to warehouse our production," she said on her weekly radio program.
"And we will do it in two ways: financing the construction of new private warehouses and earmarking resources to the construction and reform of the public warehouses," Rousseff said.
The plan aims to double the storage capacity of state-owned food distributor Conab.
The president cited a finding by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization that Brazil, a global agricultural powerhouse, needs to expand its grain storage capacity by roughly 65 million tons over the next five years.
Cooperatives and private companies will have access to 25 billion reais ($12.5 billion) in low-interest, 15-year loans to build new silos, Rousseff said.
Conab, meanwhile, will get 500 million reais ($250 million) to expand storage capacity.
"What we seek with this is to guarantee that there will be maize, fodder and other kinds of food, for example, to feed livestock in regions affected by drought or where production is not sufficient," the president said.
The South American giant has more than 120 million head of cattle.
Brazil expects a record grain harvest of 185.9 million tons this year, but its storage capacity is only around 140 million tons.
The FAO recommends that a country have enough capacity to store 1.2 times its annual grain output. EFE