The Economist – “Brazil’s Agricultural Miracle”

Source: The Economist online

The British magazine The Economist has published, in its August 26, 2010 edition, the editorial and an article on Brazilian agriculture.

Brazil is described by the magazine as a “country that faced a farm crisis and responded with decisive boldness” to become “the first tropical agricultural giant and the first to challenge the dominance of the ‘big five’ food exporters (America, Canada, Australia, Argentina and the European Union).”

The Editorial, titled “How to feed the world” starts saying that “the world is planting a vigorous new crop: ‘agro-pessimism’, or fear that mankind will not be able to feed itself except by wrecking the environment.”   However,  it says,  “Brazil has shown an alternative to the gloomy emerging conventional wisdom about world farming”.  And it recommends that, as the world faces “a slow-motion food crisis” it “should learn from Brazil”.

Click here to read “How to feed the world“.
Click here to read the Portuguese version – “Como alimentar o mundo“.

Source: The Economist online

In a second article, titled “The miracle of the cerrado”, the magazine shows that the “increase in Brazil’s farm production has been stunning”, with the total value of the country’s crops having increased 365% in ten years (from 1996 to 2006).

Such increases are shown to be mostly due to the country´s innovation capacity, that allowed rapid expansion of advanced agriculture in its vast central savannah.  In a relatively short period of time “Brazil has become the largest exporter of beef, poultry, sugar cane and ethanol, and supplies a quarter of the world’s soybean trade on just 6% of its arable land”, the article justifies.

It also says that, spurred in part by fear that it could not import enough food in the 1970´s, the country decided to expand its domestic production through science and innovation, not subsidies.  “Instead of protecting farmers from international competition – as most of the world still does – it opened its market and let the inefficient farmers go bankrupt”,  argues the magazine.

Also, according to The Economist, the techniques that make the Brazilian agriculture “magnificently productive” can help the poor countries of Africa and Asia.  And “if one wants to know the primary reason of Brazil´s success in three words, they are Embrapa, Embrapa, Embrapa”, it afirms.

Click here to read “The miracle of the cerrado“.
Click here to read the Portuguese version – “O milagre do cerrado”

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