28 August 2010

Brazilian Agriculture ~ Economist on Big Farming

Great piece in The Economist on Brazilian Agriculture spotlighting the vast transformation of that country's agri-sector enabled by research organization Embrapa plus systems-thinking plus savvy venture investment...
"Brazil’s agricultural miracle did not happen through a simple technological fix. No magic bullet accounts for it -- not even the tropical soyabean, which comes closest. Rather, Embrapa’s was a “system approach”, as its scientists call it: all the interventions worked together. Improving the soil and the new tropical soyabeans were both needed for farming the cerrado; the two together also made possible the changes in farm techniques which have boosted yields further. Systems are much harder to export than a simple fix. “We went to the US and brought back the whole package [of cutting-edge agriculture in the 1970s],” says Dr Crestana. “That didn’t work and it took us 30 years to create our own."
Also, see here an earlier piece in Businessweek by Joshua Schneyer on Brazil's Answer to Global Hunger.

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