The Economics and Organization of Brazilian Agriculture: Recent Evolution and Productivity Gains presents insights on Brazilian agriculture and its impressive gains in productivity and international competitiveness, also providing insightful examples for global policymakers.
In Brazil, as in many countries, many economists and policymakers believe that agriculture is a traditional, low-tech sector that crowds out the development of other economic sectors and the country. This book shows that this anti-agriculture bias is ill-informed, and with population growth, rising incomes, urbanization and diet changes - especially in developing countries like China and India - on the rise, the demand for food is expected to double in the next 40 years.
Brazil has the natural resources, technology and management systems in place to benefit from this expected growth in food consumption and trade. Through real-world examples, the book shows how other low-latitude countries with tropical climate and soils like Brazil - especially in sub-Saharan Africa - can benefit from the agricultural technology, production, and management systems developed in Brazil. Case studies in each of three key categories, including technology, resource management, and effective government programs provide valuable insights into effective decision-making to maximize the effect of each.
- Provides important and practical insights into achievable agricultural options via case studies
- Addresses the use of natural resources, technological advances, and management systems to create viable, adaptive economic growth
- Applies lessons learned in Brazil to improving both economic and ecological resource-sustainable agriculture for other regions and countries
Fabio Chaddad is associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, USA with joint appointment at Insper Institute of Education and Research in São Paulo, Brazil. He currently teaches strategic management, organizational economics and agribusiness management at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He is also affiliated with the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL), which delivers executive education programs for cooperative leaders, and the McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which supports research, teaching, curriculum development, and outreach in agricultural entrepreneurship. Fabio's research activities focus on the economics and management of user-owned and controlled organizations and inter-firm collaborative arrangements in the global agrifood system. He has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri, a Master's degree in Agribusiness Management from the University of São Paulo College of Economics, Business and Accounting and a Bachelor's degree in Agriculture from the University of São Paulo College of Agriculture.
Fabio Chaddad Associate Professor, University of Missouri and INSPER, Columbia, MO
It was February 2013, in the middle of the summer season in Brazil, when most Brazilians take some time off to go to the beach. In particular, the paulistanos - the residents of the largest city in the country, São Paulo - love to escape the city in the weekends and drive about 100 km down Serra do Mar to the coast. But the roads were more clogged than usual. A strike in the Port of Santos resulted in a long line of trucks blocking access to the beaches. Most of these trucks were carrying agricultural commodities and food products to be exported to world markets. The paulistanos were furious they could not get to the beach. At the same time, I was working with producer groups in Mato Grosso, about 2,000 km to the northwest of the port. They were concerned about the delays the strike was causing. The Chinese - the major importers of soybeans from Brazil - were cancelling orders as a result of the delays and were sourcing product from competitors. One of the farmers complained to me that they had been calling the attention of the Brazilian government to the logistical nightmare of moving farm commodities from the cerrado region to the ports in the southeast, but nothing had been done about it. "At least now they will pay attention to our problem and invest in transportation infrastructure to move grains from Mato Grosso to the ports in the northern and northeastern region and avoid clogging the already congested infrastructure in the south. This will not happen because it makes economic sense; it is just to make sure the paulistanos can get to the beach." This incident highlights the big disconnect that exists between politicians, urbanites, and farmers in Brazil.
In April 2014, the Economist published an article titled "The 50-year snooze: Brazilian workers are gloriously unproductive. For the economy to grow, they must snap out of the stupor." The data about productivity in Brazil are appallingly bad. The article goes on to say that "apart from a brief spurt in the 1960s and 1970s, output per worker has either slipped or stagnated over the past half century, in contrast to most other big emerging economies. Total factor productivity, which gauges the efficiency with which both capital and labor are used, is lower now than it was in 1960. If the economy is to grow any faster than its current pace of 2% or so a year, Brazilians will need to become more productive." In other words, the low productivity of the Brazilian economy is the major constraint for the country's development.
But there is one sector of the Brazilian economy that is a world leader in productivity gains in the last 40 years - agriculture. As a result of total factor productivity gains of 3.0% per year since the 1970s, Brazil has become the largest net food exporter in the world. But the majority of Brazilians - including many well-known economists - are not aware of this success story. In fact, many Brazilians still believe that agriculture is a backward and inefficient sector of the economy with large, unproductive farms (latifúndios) coexisting with millions of poor smallholders. Interestingly enough, many outside Brazil are aware of the agricultural transformation that the country has gone through in the last four decades and believe that Brazilian agriculture offers a solution to food security and rural poverty issues in Africa. Natural conditions - soil and climate, in particular - are similar and thus the tropical agricultural technologies developed by Brazilian researchers can help increase farm productivity in the African savannahs. But agricultural development is a complex process, which requires entrepreneurship and organization to come to fruition.
This book analyzes how Brazilian agriculture has changed since the 1970s and how the country became a top-five producer of 36 agricultural commodities globally. Chapter 1 describes the evolution of Brazilian agriculture since 1970, focusing on production growth, the increased use of modern farm inputs, productivity gains, and the economic effects of what is largely a success story. Chapter 2 discusses the enabling conditions of such production and productivity gains, including natural resource availability, the development of agricultural technologies adapted to tropical conditions, and changes in agricultural policy. These enabling conditions are necessary but not sufficient for productivity gains to occur, which begs the question of how Brazilian farmers overcame many challenges to adopt technology, increase production, and gain international competitiveness.
The aim of this book is to call attention to two oft-neglected factors associated with agricultural development - entrepreneurship and value chain organization. Starting in Chapter 3, we analyze how different value chain configurations provided technology and credit to Brazilian farmers and linked them to domestic and global markets. Chapter 3 focuses on the organization of agricultural value chains in the southern region where cooperatives and contract farming arrangements play a prominent role in linking farmers to markets. Chapter 4 analyzes productivity gains and increased competitiveness of the sugarcane and orange juice sectors in the southeastern region and highlights the role of vertically integrated agribusiness and producer organizations in value chain organization. Chapter 5 describes how the cerrado has been developed since the 1970s and has become a breadbasket. The chapter explains the role of public-private partnerships in developing technologies adapted to the cerrado conditions and how private colonization firms and agricultural cooperatives played a crucial role in settling pioneers and provided them with the technologies and services necessary to farm in the agricultural frontier. The chapter provides examples of how pioneers were able to survive several economic crises and become commercial producers in the frontier, with a focus on entrepreneurship, economies of scale, and the emergence of new-generation cooperatives. Chapter 6 summarizes the main findings of the book and emphasizes the roles of entrepreneurship and value chain organization in agricultural development. It also provides some perspectives on progress being made to ameliorate environmental and social concerns associated with agricultural development in Brazil.
This book is based on many case studies, vignettes, and stories to show with micro-analytic detail how farm and agribusiness entrepreneurs overcame many challenges to build world class organizations and effective supply chains that provided the basis for productivity gains and increased international competitiveness. These case studies, vignettes, and stories were developed from personal interviews conducted in 2014 with farmers, agribusiness managers, industry leaders, policymakers, and experts.
I would like to thank the following individuals who agreed to share their knowledge and wisdom with me:
José Garcia Gasques (MAPA)
Maurício Lopes, Elísio Contini, and Geraldo Martha (EMPRAPA)
João Veloso Silva, Lineu Domit, Austerclínio Farias Neto, Marcelo Carauta, and Júlio Reis (EMBRAPA Agrossilvipastoril)
José Américo Rodrigues (ABRASEM)
Rodrigo Santos and Geraldo Berger (Monsanto do Brasil)
Ivo Carraro (Coodetec)
Jorge Karl, Manfred Majowski, Norbert Geier, Adam Stemmer, and Arnaldo Stock (Agrária)
Frans Borg (Castrolanda)
Daniel Dias (Coonagro)
Marcos Jank (BRF)
Eduardo Leão de Sousa, Adhemar Altieri, Geraldine Kutas, and Maria Luiza Barbosa (UNICA)
Luís Pogetti and Soren Jensen (Copersucar)
Carlos Dinucci (Usina São Manuel)
Luiz Antonio Dias Paes (CTC)
Murilo Parada (Louis Dreyfus Commodities)
Décio Tocantins (AMPA)
Luciane Copetti (Prefeitura de Lucas do Rio Verde, MT)
Ricardo Tomszyk, Marcelo Duarte, Nery Ribas, Cid Sanches, and Susiane Azevedo (Aprosoja)
Silvésio de Oliveira (farmer in Tapurah, MT)
Nelson Piccoli (farmer in Sorriso, MT)
Francisco Soares Neto (TMG and FMT)
Rodrigo Rodrigues and Fabiano Costa (Agrifirma)
Júlio Piza (BrazilAgro)
Gilson Pinesso and Ademir Pinesso (Produzir S.A.)
Eraí Maggi (Grupo Bom Futuro)
Adair Mazzotti (OCB-MT)
José Carlos Dolphini, Alexandre Bottan, and Carlos Menegati (Cooperfibra)
Gilberto Peruzzi and Evandro Lermen (Coacen)
Otávio Palmeira, João Luiz Ribas Pessa, and Adelar Dahmer (Unicotton)
Helvio Fiedler (Coabra)
João Vianna (IGEAGRO)
Luiz Fernando do Amaral (Rabobank do Brasil)
Marcelo Pereira de Carvalho (Agripoint)
Christiano Nascif (Labor Rural)
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