Lack of agricultural inspectors threaten Brazilian grape exports

Lack of agricultural inspectors threaten Brazilian grape exports to U.S.

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Lack of agricultural inspectors threaten Brazilian grape exports to U.S.

The Brazilian fruit sector is concerned about the possible collapse of grape exports to the United States, the country’s main international destination.

Due to the El Niño phenomenon, Brazilian supply to North and Central American regions has increased. However, there is a lack of federal agricultural tax auditors to analyze and release the goods.

"The limited contingent of agricultural auditors worries the productive and exporting sector because of the impossibility to meet the orders and, therefore, causing a collapse of exports," warns Guilherme Coelho, president of the Brazilian Association of Exporters of Fruits and Derivatives (Abrafrutas).

The São Francisco Valley accounts for 95% of all Brazilian grapes produced for export. But the valley has only five agricultural inspectors to analyze and release the product. Even at the limit, the race has remained operational so far.

According to data from Brazil’s  Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mapa), in the first half of 2023, about 16,000 tons of grapes were shipped abroad, with a revenue of US$36.3 million.

Shortage of inspection personnel

In an attempt to temporarily cover the staff shortage, inspectors are being relocated from other grape inspection areas. 

"The measure only shifts the problem from one location to another. We understand that the demand for grape exports is increasing, but other departments must also work in parallel," criticizes the representative of the National Union of Agricultural Auditors (Anffa Sindical), in Pernambuco, Luiz Gonzaga Oliveira Filho.

Currently, about 20% of the 2,300 federal agricultural inspectors are eligible for retirement. In June, the federal government announced 200 new vacancies for the career, which corresponds to only 11.4% of the demand requested by Mapa to the Ministry of Management and Innovation in Public Services, meaning 1,700 new positions.

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