Características gerais da agricultura brasileira em meados do Século XX


  • Nilo Bernardes


Agricultura, Economia agrícola, Uso do solo, Geografia agrícola, Propriedade rural


                This study deals with agricultural occupation of the soil in Brazil, its characteristics and problems. The article s divided into five parts: 1. General features of crop- and stock- farming economy; 2. Real estate structure and land development; 3. Factors shaping the agrarian institutions; 4. Ways of land use; 5. Development of farmland and difficulties thereof.

                To begin with, a general discussion of Brazilian farming enables the author to make use of statistical data in order to stress not only the importance of this activity in the country's economy, but also the extent to which our land is being properly made use of or not, not1ng at the same time the differences from one region to another. In Brazil, there are two kinds of farming: cash crops, which are represented outstandingly by the coffee, cotton, sugarcane and cacao plantations, and subsistence farming in which corn, beans and cassava (manioc) are chiefly grown.

                In the second chapter the real estate structure is analyzed, and the large estate is seen to be exceptionally prevalent, though in most cases it is by no means fully developed. In quantity, however, the small farms are in the majority. The author then proceeds to define  qualitatively, what he means by large, medium and small holdings. Further on, he describes the cattle ranches and large-scale commercial crop farms, classing them according to the organization of labour and explaining the different work systems adopted. It is also observed that in Brazil there is a relationship between the structure of landed property and the type of vegetation; thus on the open range the large cattle ranches are the rule, while in the wooded areas large farms alternate with small ones (sítios).

                In the following chapter, there is yet another opportunity of noting the influence of the European settlers on land tenure, organization of labour and ways of land use.

                In another part the means or land use are discussed in a comparison between the various systems of farming, and to this end a distinction can be made between: small subsistence farming, small crop-farming, large-scale crop-farming and stock-raising. Traditional methods are dominant features of the agrarian landscape, and improved systems only appear here and there In the background, in most cases having developed out of the former.

                Finally, in the last chapter the author poses the problems of the country’s rural economy, stressing those that are the product of economic factors of a general nature, which reflect in tum on those that are intrinsic to farming strictly so called, i.e. agrarian structure, organization of landed property and extensive systems employed.

                Statistical tables are annexed to the article showing the distribution of farms according to states and territories.