‘Soy King’ of Brazil, Olacyr de Moraes, dies at 84

SAO PAULO, (Reuters) – Olacyr de Moraes, the one-time “Soy King” of Brazil who pushed the frontier of large-scale agriculture far into the country’s interior to become the world’s largest soybean grower, died on Tuesday at age 84.

Moraes died in Sao Paulo after fighting pancreatic cancer for more than a year, his Facebook page said.

Once one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, Moraes rose from a modest beginning selling sewing machines in Sao Paulo at age 14 to become the owner of dozens of businesses including a bank and one of Brazil’s largest construction companies.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Moraes took up the military dictatorship’s challenge to populate the country’s untamed interior.

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