Agriculture drives Brazilian economic growth
With growth estimates ranging between 9% and 11% for 2017, Brazil's agricultural sector is one of the biggest drivers of the country's economic recovery. Proof of this is in the Brazilian trade balance. Agribusiness accounted for 46.2% of everything sold abroad in 2016, contributing decisively to the US$ 47.7 billion surplus in the trade balance last year.
Despite this relevance, the sector lacks up-to-date and complete data on what Brazil produces, since the last Agricultural Census was conducted in 2006. This is about to change, as the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) has initiated a new survey this week to fill this gap.
Paulo Camuri, technical advisor of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), explains that the sector has undergone significant changes since the 2006 Agricultural Census. "When comparing the 2005/2006 harvest with the 2016/2017 harvest, productivity has increased by 55%, acreage has increased by 26%, and we have doubled total output to 238 million tons of grain," he says.
In addition to the results that show the growth of agriculture and livestock, the 2017 census should also highlight changes in the way Brazil produces. "We imagine that the new picture will come out quite different, and for the better. It is important to have access to this new reality of the agricultural market, the profile of properties and land use. These characteristics will help to promote new public policies", says Camuri.
Concerned with promoting growth responsibly, the government encourages sustainable management practices in agribusiness. The Ministry of Agriculture, for example, implements the Rural Sustentável ("Sustainable Countryside"), which aims to encourage the broad adoption by farmers of low-carbon agricultural technologies that recover the productive potential of degraded areas and help restore native vegetation in areas where those are to be protected.
Another initiative is the Low Carbon Emissions Agriculture Plan (called ABC Plan in Brazil for short). The purpose is to organise and plan actions for the adoption of specific sustainable production technologies selected in order to meet Brazil's international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.