The agricultural industry in Brazil is divided over its support for the country’s president Jair Bolsonaro and his recent political agenda, according to an AgriCensus report on 6 September.

At the end of August, a number of major Brazilian agribusinesses released a manifesto in defence of the democratic rule of law and condemning “radical adventures” – in a veiled reference to the president’s policies, the report said.

However, the powerful Mato Grosso soyabean producers association Aprosoja MT had stated it would support a pro-Bolsonaro demonstration which was due to be held on the country’s independence day, 7 September.

Signatories of the 30 August manifesto included the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (Abag), Brazilian Tree Industry Association (Ibá), Brazilian Palm Oil Producers Association (Abrapalma), the herbicide lobby group National Union of Plant Defence Products Industry (Sindiveg), Brazilian Vegetable Oil Industries Association (Abiove) and CropLife Brazil, AgriCensus wrote.

In the text, the organisations affirmed that Brazil could not present itself to the international community “as a society permanently under tension, in interminable crises or at risk of setbacks and institutional ruptures.”

“Brazil is much bigger than the image we have projected to the world. This is costing us dear and will take time to reverse,” the group said.

Although the manifesto had not named Bolsonaro, it was evident that the organisation was addressing him when they demanded from the country’s leaders a position that is up to Brazilian “grandeur”, the report said.

The manifesto followed a call from Bolsonaro and his allies for a demonstration on Brazil’s independence day, promoting radical agendas such as arming the population, challenging Supreme Court decisions, calling the electoral process in question, and minimising the impact of COVID-19, AgriCensus wrote.

Despite the controversy, producers were thought to remain broadly supportive of Bolsonaro, with several players supporting and taking part in the pro-government demonstrations, according to the report.