October 5, 2018 / 7:13 PM / a month ago

Farmers group asks Brazil for funds so its coffee farmers can delay sales

FILE PHOTO: A coffee tree is seen in a farm in Sao Desiderio, Bahia state, Brazil March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Roberto Samora

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil’s farmers confederation, CNA, said on Friday it had officially requested government funding for a program that would allow coffee farmers to hold back sales and stock the product to avoid selling at current low prices.

CNA said it met on Thursday with representatives of the ministries of Agriculture and Finance in Brasília, where it suggested the government reallocate money from Funcafé, a fund that finances programs for the coffee sector, to finance a plan to help farmers carry stocks that they could sell later, when prices are more favorable.

“We had a large crop this year and the current flow of coffee is very strong,” CNA head Breno Mesquita said in a statement. “We have to finance the farmer so he could wait longer to sell his coffee and get a better price in the future.”

Mesquita said current coffee prices at around 380 reais per 60-kg (132 lb) bag, compared with 500 reais at this time last year, are hurting farmers’ finances.

“Producers took credit to finance their crops, and will have to pay that back with interest. With these prices, their cash flows will be really bad,” he said.

Coffee farmers have criticized the low prices, saying many producers could abandon their crops. They asked for help from the industry as a way to maintain production levels.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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