Few companies have been as important to Brazil’s agribusiness than Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation. Created in 1972, during some of the hardest years of the military dictatorship, the company has been instrumental in transforming Brazil from a food importer into one of the world’s leading agricultural powers.
Developing the use of microorganisms to capture nitrogen to nourish plants – thus avoiding an excessive use of fertilizers – is just one such example of the company’s noteworthy accomplishments. With the help of Embrapa, Brazil became one of the world’s top beef producers, the country lowered prices for basic foods, and transformed Brazilian agribusiness into one of the world’s most effective and sustainable.
Embrapa’s multiple advances turned the cerrado, a savanna-like biome with notoriously poor soils, into Brazil’s biggest grain-producing region. Since the company was created, Brazil’s grain production has increased by 556 percent – while planted surfaces advanced only by 163 percent. Availability of beef and pork is now four times higher, and availability of poultry is 22 times higher.