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Brazil lorry drivers' roadblocks 'affecting exports'

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image copyrightEPA
image captionSome 70 roads have been fully or partially blocked, according to Brazilian police.

Lorry drivers are blocking roads in a number of Brazilian states in protest against the high cost of fuel and tolls.

Deliveries of soya and corn to one of Brazil's main ports, Paranagua, have slowed, the authorities said.

The protest has affected production in many rural areas and has led to localised shortages of fuel.

Farmers in the main meat, soya bean and milk producing regions of the country say their silos are full.

The road leading to Brazil's busiest port, Santos, is one of those blocked.

Police clashed with drivers, fired tear gas and arrested seven people, but failed to clear access to the port.

Soya exports

The government has invited the protest leaders for a meeting in Brasilia to try to reach an agreement.

image copyrightReuters
image captionFederal police tried to persuade drivers in southern Parana state to clear the highway
image copyrightEPA
image captionThe protest began last week but has only gained strength in the past few days
image copyrightEPA
image captionOne of the roads affected in Minas Gerais state is near the huge Fiat plant in the city of Betim

The protest, which began last week, has now spread to many central and southern states: Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, Santa Catarina, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goias, Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo.

The situation is particularly worrying in western Mato Grosso state, which accounts for most of the Brazilian production of soya beans.

Some 50% of the soya produced in the state has already been harvested, according to Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

But much of the output is waiting in silos or lorries to be transported to other parts of the country or exported.

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