It is difficult for anyone who lives in Brazil to ignore the flashy and modern images of the campaign “El agro es pop”, broadcast since 2016 by TV Globo. The same things communicate the idea of agribusiness as the engine of the country: the “wealth of Brazil”.
In contrast to the narrative that intends to build this consensus, the 21st of October is published in the studio El Agro is not tech, el Agro is not pop, and much less is all, from the Asociación Brasileña to the Reforma Agraria (ABRA), carried out in collaboration with FES Brasil.
The authors Marco Antônio Mitidiero Júnior and Yamila Goldfarb demonstrate that the agroindustry in the soil does not produce food for the Brazilian population, which soil has seen an alarming increase in the number of hambres.
On the contrary: according to the survey, the sector encourages inequality, which means that currently 55% of the population is not sure if they will have enough to eat the next day.
The launch of the document took place with a live debate between authors and guests, whose download is found on the Youtube channel of FES Brasil.
Based on the analysis of data on the trade balance, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the investigation shows that agriculture contributes little to GDP, which means a high cost for the State, which generates little work and which, moreover, is largely responsible for the destruction of the environment.
To understand the main arguments presented in “El agro no estodo”, Brasil de Fato converted with geographer Marco Mitidiero, co-author of the study and professor of the Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB).
Brasil de Facto: The name of the study that has just been published is referenced and contrasts with the marketing that portrays the agroindustry as a fundamental sector for Brazilian society. What are the main arguments of the study to show a reality different from that portrayed in advertising?
Marco Antônio Mitidiero Jr.: The analysis shows us that, if the agroindustry is the sector of the economy that exports the most, it brings to Brazil what we call the reprimarization of the economy.
This is an economy based on the production of raw materials and the import of industrialized products. Despite being a global situation, Brazil appears as one of the five countries that most undergo the process of deindustrialization. This leads us to interpret that the insertion of Brazil into the world market is subordinate.
The second point was to think about the production of wealth. For this, we analyze the data of the GDP, in relation to three sectors of the economy: agriculture, industry and commerce. Data from IBGE show that agroindustry is the one that contributes least to the production of wealth. The average share of the agroindustry in the national wealth is 5%.
What happens in relation to the issues related to sector financing, the renegotiation and condonation of debts and the low tax relief?
This is the third point: the agribusiness costs a lot of money in the State. The Brazilian State is the mayor responsible for the financing granted to agriculture and livestock. The agribusiness receives a lot of public money, while peasant and family agriculture receives little incentive from the State.
Luego, we focus on how this support develops. The study indicates that the agroindustry practically does not pay taxes. Therefore, it is not surprising that this entire sector exports while in Brazil there is a shortage of food.
Another point: the generation of tickets and employment. We went to see the IBGE data. Agriculture and livestock are areas that pay the lowest wages and those that generate a smaller number of formal work places. So it’s just that agribusiness generates employment and income is just a fallacy.
During the pandemic the agro in detuvo: batió records of production. And the agricultural demand continues to increase.
Finally, we move on to the environmental impact, which was not the focus of the study, but it should have appeared.
At this moment in which the whole world is discussing climate impacts, the concern for the water crisis and this cinematographic revue of the last 20 days: the nubes of arena! We demonstrate that the effects of agroindustry are not related to environmental devastation.
A study recently carried out by Red PenSSAN says that today in Brazil there are around 20 million people who do not want to eat. Meanwhile, we see this ascent along the curve of the hambre, in a context of unemployment and pandemic, the data set in parallel with the growth of agribusiness. What does this tell us?
The production of the hambre on the part of this sector was undiscovered. El rey is naked. La agroindustria, with its narrative, does not deceive nadie: ¡la población is passing hambre! No rice, no frijoles, no meat. Now there’s tampoco hay huevos. At the beginning of the queues of the hambre, we saw the Brazilians making a queue because a butcher in Cuiabá was donating food. Now we see that people are queuing up to buy items.
The agroindustry is, therefore, nothing more and nothing less than a business. The agribusiness does not care about feeding the population anywhere on the planet.
If the agroindustry in the country’s engine, on the path so that we can sleep with the certainty that all the people can eat the next day, what alternatives seem relevant to you to fight the hambre in Brazil?
The agrarian reform is, without doubt, the main public policy that the Brazilian State should adopt for the production of food for local consumption.
Another problem that we have tackled since the government of Temer and that has worsened with that of Bolsonaro is the abandonment of public policies to support small rural producers. We need that Sean taken over.
Perhaps our study seems to suggest, and I take advantage of it, to decide that this would not be enough with the agro-industry to satisfy the demand of the Brazilian population, and now I decide, with a focus on the industrialization of the sector. Esa es la idea, la idea es thinking of another possible world.
What we have found in the text was played by the role of abogado del diablo: even from the point of view of capitalism, agribusiness is a bad business.
Edition: Leandro Melito