Brazil Suspends Coffee Imports Amid Opposition From Farmers

Brazil’s government temporarily suspended a move to import coffee amid a battle between farmers and the country’s instant-coffee industry.

President Michel Temer made the decision late Tuesday after Government Secretariat Minister Antonio Imbassahy met with congressmen and farmers from coffee-producing states in Brasilia, according to a statement posted on the secretariat’s website.

According to the statement, the president decided to reassess the matter after lawmakers presented data showing Brazilian robusta coffee supplies are sufficient for domestic needs and said that imports would harm farmers.

Temer’s decision represents a swift reversal on the issue that has pitted growers against processors in the country, the world’s biggest producer and export of coffee. On Monday, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said the government would allow so-called green robusta imports from Vietnam, following months of lobbying from Brazilian makers of instant coffee. On Tuesday, Congressman Ricardo Ferraco, from Espirito Santo state, filed a bill in the country’s Senate to stop the move.

A two-year drought has led to a collapse in output of robusta beans in Espirito Santo, the country’s biggest grower of the variety. Deputy Evair Vieira de Melo, who’s from the state, said Tuesday before the meeting with Imbassahy that if the decision to allow imports wasn’t reversed, “the weight of it” would fall on Temer.

Brazil unsuccessfully tried to import green coffee in May 2016….