Agribusiness is what has protected Brazil’s economy from total collapse after the country experienced its worst recession on record. In 2017, it was responsible for 23 percent of the country’s GDP. Therefore, it’s surprising how little importance Brazil has given to closely studying the sector. After a long 11-year gap, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) has finally completed its latest agricultural census.
`Over this time span, Brazil’s agribusiness advanced over 16.5 million hectares – a surface equivalent to the territories of Portugal, Belgium, and Denmark combined. “Currently, 41 percent of Brazil’s territory is occupied by agricultural establishments,” says the census coordinator, Antonio Florido.
The recent expansion was mainly concentrated in the hands of large establishments – the area occupied by small producers stagnated, with 4.5 million properties extending across 72 million hectares. Big agro, which detained 45 percent of agricultural land back in 2006, now increased its share of the pie to 47.5 percent – Brazil’s 2,400 “big establishments,” of 10,000 hectares or more, own 52 million hectares across the country.
The data released this week by IBGE is still partial and does not yet dissect production, only area occupation. The remaining data will be released within a year, bringing more details about the country’s driving economic force.
Over the past 11 years, tractor sales leaped by 50 percent, reaching 1.23 million operating units, while the sale of harvesters jumped by 49 percent, to 173,000 of such machines in the country.
But the increasing productivity and modernization have not helped curb an old problem in rural Brazil: illiteracy. Almost one-quarter of establishment managers couldn’t read or write. That is also related to the demographic working on the fields. Only 5.5 percent of producers are 30 years old or less.
Mato Grosso, Brazil’s agricultural powerhouse
The Center-West state of Mato Grosso continues to be the driving force of Brazilian agribusiness. Temporary crops have grown by 62 percent since 2006. Pork and poultry production grew even more, by 82 and 93 percent, respectively.
Without further ado …
… Brazilian agribusiness, in 15 charts.