How Brazils president Bolsonaro weighed in on UK food shortage crisis

Kate and Ben row with Grant Shapps about HGV shortages.

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Disruptions to various supply chains have rocked the UK in recent weeks, with speculation delays and shortages could run into the Christmas period. A lack of HGV drivers and food pickers has sparked shortages in supermarkets across the UK.

The Prime Minister has urged the UK public not to panic-buy goods and fuel following an announcement from BP that some petrol stations may have to close due to a lack of fuel deliveries.

Mr Bolsonaro made the claim about the request after a meeting between them in New York earlier this week at the UN general assembly.

During his weekly live broadcast on social media on Thursday night, Mr Bolsonaro said: “[One] thing I talked to Boris Johnson about was that he wants an emergency deal with us to import some kind of produce of ours, of which there are shortages in England.

“It just goes to show that everyone’s struggling with inflation after this ‘stay at home, we’ll deal with the economy later’ business – and some countries are facing food shortages,” he continued, using the supposed request from Mr Johnson to justify rising inflation in Brazil.

However, experts say this is the result of political and economic instability and a severe energy crisis that is affecting the South American country.

Mr Bolsonaro added in reference to Brazil’s agriculture minister: “I’ve passed this potato on to Mrs Tereza Cristina,”

He also claimed Mr Johnson asked him to facilitate whiskey imports into Brazil during the meeting.

He said: “I’m going to get in trouble with the press here – but it doesn’t matter.

“When I started chatting to Boris Johnson he talked about whiskey – and asked me what I could do to make it easier to import whiskey to Brazil.

“Look, it’s not one of my priorities – making it easy to bring whiskey into Brazil.

“This isn’t something that the government should be working on … it’s the market that regulates these things.”

It is understood the UK Government regards the claims by the Brazilian leader as untrue.

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Publicly, Downing Street has issued a more diplomatic response, claiming Mr Bolsonaro’s words do not tally with Downing Street’s recollection of events.

However, other senior Government sources have admitted being surprised at the claims, according to the Guardian.

One Foreign Office official said Mr Johnson has probably made a warm-hearted but unserious remark which has been misinterpreted by Mr Bolsonaro.

There has been speculation that Brazil could be helpful with supplying turkeys for Christmas after poultry suppliers said serious staff shortages caused by Brexit could lead to shortages at Christmas.

Brazil is one of the world’s top turkey suppliers.

On Thursday, Johnson’s deputy spokesperson said fuel and food had a “very resilient supply chain” in the UK.

They urged people not to change their behaviour, and stressed: “People should continue to buy it as usual.”

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