December 10, 2010

Wagner Rossi to Remain Minister of Ag under President Rousseff

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

When Ms. Dilma Rousseff assumes the post as Brazil's president on January 1, 2011, her Minister of Agriculture will be Wagner Rossi. Rossi was appointed Minister of Agriculture on an interim basis in the waning months of Lula's administration when the former Minister, Reinhold Stephanes, resigned the post to run for senator from the state of Parana.

Wagner Rossi has held many positions in state government (Sao Paulo) and at the federal level. In the state of Sao Paulo, he held many diverse positions such as Director of Transportation and Infrastructure, Education Director and Chief Administrator of the Port of Santos, which is the largest port in Latin America. His most recent federal position was as President of Conab. Rossi holds a PhD in Education Administration and Economics from Bowling Green University in Ohio.

Rossi has demonstrated his capability as an administrator, but many of the problems facing Brazilian agriculture are out of his control. A major concern for Brazilian agriculture is the lack of adequate infrastructure and transportation networks, but the responsibility for improving the infrastructure falls to the Minister of Transportation. Brazilian farmers are also suffering from high interest rates and a strengthening Brazilian currency, but unfortunately both of these issues are the responsibility of the Treasury Ministry

Minister Rossi is going to confront many thorny issues including: agrarian reform and the demands of the landless poor for free land, environmentalist pushing for restrictions on agricultural expansion and drforestation, family farmers pressing for more help from the federal government, and how to both regulate and encourage foreign investments in Brazilian agriculture.

Rossi owns a farm in the state of Sao Paulo where he plants sugarcane and raises cattle and the farm is currently being operated by one of his sons.