Production of açaí, cassava, coffee and cocoa generates R$24.4 billion for the Amazon, study shows

The research concludes that to promote more sustainable development, as well as generate income for the region.
Economics
12 April 2024
Production of açaí, cassava, coffee and cocoa generates R$24.4 billion for the Amazon, study shows

According to the Brazilian statistics agency, IBGE, in 2022, the municipalities that make up the Amazon biome produced agricultural goods worth R$118.5 billion, representing just 14.3% of the country’s total. Of this amount, R$24.4 billion (20.5%) was generated by the production of açaí, cassava, coffee, cocoa, bananas, sugar cane, dende palm oil, pineapples, rice, beans and other products in the region. These figures were compiled in a study by the FGV Bioeconomy Knowledge and Innovation Observatory.

These products were dwarfed by soybeans, corn and cotton, which generated output of R$94.1 billion in the Amazon Biome. However, of this figure, R$74.4 billion came from municipalities in the state of Mato Grosso, whose agricultural production dynamics are much more associated with the Cerrado Savanna than with the Amazon biome. Stripping out Mato Grosso, the production of soybeans, corn and cotton in the Amazon biome generated R$19.8 billion, less than the amount generated by the other products (R$21.9 billion).

Similar conclusions are obtained when we look at crop areas. In 2022, the Amazon biome had 13 million hectares of croplands, of which 11.2 million hectares were associated with soybeans, corn and cotton, while 1.8 million hectares were related to other products. However, stripping out Mato Grosso, the area used to grow soybeans, corn and cotton (2.5 million hectares) wasn’t so much greater than the area used for other products (1.5 million hectares).

In other words, the agricultural production situation in the Amazon biome looks very different when we exclude Mato Grosso, a state that generally has well-developed agricultural activities and links with foreign markets.

According to Roberta Possamai, a researcher at the FGV Bioeconomy Knowledge and Innovation Observatory and one of the authors of the study, the important thing is not the products that will be offered by the Amazon region, but their ability to generate income and be sustainable.

“The ideal thing would be to have environmentally sustainable production that can generate income and boost the local economy, taking advantage of the products typically associated with the biome, as well as commodities with established Brazilian markets and institutions,” she says.

The study concluded that in order to promote more sustainable development, as well as generate income for the region, it is important to focus on the products most associated with the biome (such as açaí, dende palm oil, cassava and coffee), while also taking advantage of the development of well-established products such as agricultural commodities like soybeans, corn and cotton. In both cases, it is necessary to deepen and expand the adoption of more sustainable practices and methods, including technologies such as no-till farming, pasture recovery and integrated systems in the case of major commodities.

Methodology

Brazil’s Amazon biome is made up of 496 municipalities and, according to the national statistics agency, IBGE, it covers around 50% of the country’s territory. It encompasses the Amazon Rainforest, the largest tropical rainforest in the world and home to an immense number of flora and fauna species.

The aim of the study was to map the agricultural activity carried out in this globally important biome. To do this, the FGV Bioeconomy Knowledge and Innovation Observatory used data extending up to 2022 in IBGE’s Municipal Agricultural Production database. The mapping exercise covered all 496 municipalities in Brazill’s Amazon biome.

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