March 25, 2020 / 6:15 PM / 5 days ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil farm town eases coronavirus lockdown to allow grain shipments

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SAO PAULO, March 25 (Reuters) - Brazilian farm town Canarana in Mato Grosso state will amend its coronavirus decree halting operations in most industries to allow global trading companies to ship grains out of the city, the mayor said on Wednesday.

Mayor Fabio de Faria told Reuters in a telephone interview the decision was taken after a meeting with the farmers union. A new version of the decree is likely to be published by the end of the day, the mayor said.

Before the decision to change the order, Faria and grain traders like U.S.-based Cargill, France’s Louis Dreyfus and China’s Cofco were discussing with the local government a 10-day grace period to comply with the decree.

The mayor said that is no longer necessary as the decree will allow them to continue exporting grains indefinitely.

The mayor said trading companies have committed to new health protocols to protect people involved with the farm trade and grain shipments.

Some 2,000 truckers are expected to pass through town in the next 10 days, as they help ship soy that is left in the fields, he said. The trading companies committed to testing the incoming truckers, the mayor said. (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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