Heavy rain causes huge rice production losses in Brazil
Heavy rain in Brazil’s key rice-producing state has caused losses of 700 million reais (about400 million U.S. dollars) to local rice farmers, it is said. Over half of the 240,000 hectares of flooded rice farms in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul had not been planted yet, Rio Grande do Sul Rice Institute (Irga) said Friday. The state produces nearly two thirds of the total rice output in Brazil. The planting season, which was due to be over by Dec. 10, has been extended until Dec. 20. However, the planting may not be finished by that date because strong storms will continue in the region in the next few days, accompanied by wind and hail, according to weather forecasts. In 2009, the Rio Grande do Sul state was expected to produce 8 million tons of rice, but the rain may have caused losses of up to1 million tons. Irga President Mauricio Miguel Fischer said the amount of lost rice production equals to one month’s consumption in the entire country. There would not be a shortage of rice in the domestic market, but prices might rise 10 to 15 percent in the country, Fischer said.