On June 28, 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced the implementation of a $57 billion––or 115 billion reals––program for agricultural loans for the 2012-2013 season.
The program’s objectives are to increase agricultural productivity, and thus reinforce the role of agriculture as driver for Brazil’s economic growth, especially in the current context of global crisis. According to Senator Katia Abreu, President of the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock, this program should also lead to further consolidate Brazil’s position in global agricultural markets. By 2050, “most of the world’s nations will consume Brazilian agricultural products,” added the Senator.
This new program of agricultural loans reminds us how Brazil considers agriculture as a highly strategic sector, in terms of the country’s economic and social stability, its food security, or even its ranking among global powers.
We are therefore far from the idealized image of Brazilian farming, unsubsidized and free of any state interference. Brazil continues to boost its support to agricultural activities through various channels––intervention acquisitions, subsidized interest rates and direct support of agricultural prices––and through managing supplies along the value chain, as well as a favorable tax system that boosts the biofuel exponential growth.
Do we need to blame Brazil for openly proclaiming the strategic significance it gives agriculture for economic, political, geopolitical or even geostrategic reasons? Surely no.
On the contrary, it is advisable to give greater consideration to these different programs that, all in all, end up to an average total support per capita, or average added value produced, that is identical to that of the European Union1.
A conclusion that is far removed from usual clichés.
1 According to the study on Global Support to Agricultural Production (SGPA) conducted by momagri in the framework of the momagri Agency. The results for the U.S. and the E.U. of this indicator are available on our website at http://www.momagri.org/UK/press-reports/The-SGPA-Global-Support-to-Agricultural-Production--The-per-capita-farm-support-is-close-to-three-times-higher-in-the-United-States-than-in-the-European-Union_1123.html
and will be available for Brazil by October 2012.