"The government is helping us finance the purchase of new machinery," said Alves. "They reduced the interest rates we pay and have given us more time to pay off the loans. It's vital."
Rising food prices mean many farmers around the world are reaping record profits. And South America's agricultural powerhouses, Brazil and Argentina, are responding to the farming windfall in opposite ways.
da Silva's government recently announced record farm credits, a form of indirect subsidy, to encourage Brazil's farmers to produce more while the price of their exports are high on world markets, a move that should improve Brazil's economy. But Argentina, Brazil's economic and political archrival, decided to share the agricultural windfall at home.
Worried about the wave of inflation rippling around the world, the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina increased export taxes on some crops, a move meant to keep down domestic food prices by encouraging farmers flush from global profits to sell more at home.
- I am afraid that I have lost many of your recent emails, specifically any sent to me between 15th August 2008 and 26th August 2008. Obviously I am annoyed at my stupidity, but also offer my apologies for all those people who took the time to write to me at what is, for most people, a busy time of year.
- If you did write to me between the above dates, I can only apologise, and ask you to re-send your email to me.
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