There is a 700-hectare farm near Brazil’s capital, Brasilia called Ibi-Ata, which means “good land” in the native Tupi language. It’s a medium-sized enterprise leased and operated by Geovani Muller using state-of-the-art machinery.
The farm’s tractor has automated steering system is guided by GPS –both a sign of the times and a testimony to the prosperity of the Muller farm and it’s increasingly typical of a Brazil that has risen to become an agricultural giant.
CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports.
“Today, compared to the 80’s when we arrived we are producing double the amount of grains, that was 30, 40 sacks per hectare and today we’ve reached 80 sacks per hectare so it’s a big difference” said farmer Geovani Muller.
By rotating crops, properly managing soil and investing in high-tech tractors, harvesters and irrigation systems, Geovani and his partner father have more than survived Brazil’s worst recession on record. Agriculture comprised nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP in 2017—the highest in last 13 years, according to the country’s CNA farm lobby.
The Muller’s farm expanded from 40 to 700 hectares in the last thirty years. In that same period of time Brazil exploded to become the world’s third largest exporter of food.
But deforestation is still a problem says the director of IPAM, an NGO environmental research institute:
“If you continue to deforest, science has proven already that will affect negatively the productivity, because it will affect the rain cycles so we need the right balance between the area that we conserve and the areas that we are producing,” said Andre Guimares, director of IPAM. “So that is Brazil’s challenge.”
According to official figures, Brazil has already deforested an area more than twice the size of Germany. And that is something the Mullers say needs to stop for the sake of agriculture.
“We will have to make some changes,” said Muller. “Cattle ranchers will probably need to migrate to grains but always in the same area without the need to clear more land.”
With world population on course to approach 10 billion people by the year 2050, finding the balance between conservation and sustainable food production in Brazil has taken on global dimensions and urgency.
Alan Bojanic discusses the UN Food agency’s outlook for Brazil’s food production
CGTN’S Lucrecia Franco sat down with Alan Bojanic to discuss the UN Food agency’s outlook for Brazil’s food production.