Brazilian President Michel Temer announced on Wednesday a record loan plan amounting to more than 190 billion reais (some $59.5 billion) for the country's agriculture sector, which is responsible for Brazil's current economic recovery, so that the 2017-2018 harvest can be paid for.
"With this plan, we reaffirm our commitment to the agriculture and livestock sector, which sustained the GDP in the first quarter," said Temer at a ceremony at Planalto Palace amid the serious political crisis under way in Brazil due to the trial that began on Tuesday, which could cost the president his job.
Temer - who is facing corruption charges and calls for his resignation from certain sectors - could be found guilty this week of using illegal resources to finance Dilma Rousseff's 2014 presidential campaign with him as her vice presidential pick, but he has been sticking to his agenda in recent days in an attempt to show a calm public face.
The president announced the so-called Agricultural and Livestock Plan 2017-2018 at a ceremony attended by several government ministers, the heads of the upper and lower houses of Congress and numerous rural businessmen.
The loans included in the plan, which carry very low interest rates, other preferential elements and can be paid off over 15 years, will be aimed at financing the cost of bringing in and marketing the upcoming harvest, along with investments by large and medium agricultural firms in productivity and modernization.
The plan exceeds similar plans for 2015-2016 (187.7 billion reais) and 2016-2017 (185 billion reais) despite the budgetary restrictions adopted by Temer to restore Brazil's public accounts back to health.
"These are difficult years due to the financial restrictions on the public accounts but we can do a lot with the resources we have at our disposal," said Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi at the ceremony.
Temer said that the government must support the sector that led Brazil's economic recovery in the first quarter and was responsible for 40 percent of the country's exports last year.