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Food Security

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 779–793 | Cite as

Linking Brazil’s food security policies to agricultural change

  • Johan A. OldekopEmail author
  • M. Jahi Chappell
  • Felipe E. Borges Peixoto
  • Adriano Pereira Paglia
  • Marina Schmoeller do Prado Rodrigues
  • Karl L. Evans
Original Paper

Abstract

Poverty, food security, and sustainability are intimately intertwined, driving conflict and synergy between environmental and societal concerns. Brazil’s flagship food security policies were implemented over a decade ago to address these issues simultaneously. Global institutions have pledged over 2 million US$ to develop similar programs in sub-Saharan Africa, yet empirical assessments of many aspects of these policies are still lacking. We focus on a case study in the state of Minas Gerais and assess the agricultural and environmental impacts of the Purchase with Simultaneous Donation (PSD) program. The PSD provides stable markets as incentives to diversify production, but we find no effect of participation on changes in local agricultural practices, production or income. While some farms are expanding, regional agricultural production appears to be declining due to local economic development and related shortages in farm labor. The PSD’s limited impact arises because most farmers only participate irregularly, typically during the dry season when the program offers higher prices than the local market price. Furthermore, participation is constrained by the specific nature of PSD contracts and centralized governance of the program. We complement these findings with data from the Brazilian Ministry of Social Development and the 2006 agricultural census, which show substantial variation in the availability of PSD initiatives, and the funding allocated to them at local, regional and national levels. We suggest that adaptive management strategies that can respond to local market conditions could lead to more equitable and efficient food security and agricultural policies in Brazil and elsewhere.

Keywords

Agricultural intensification Land abandonment Rural development Small-scale farming 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Belo Horizonte’s Secretariat for Food Security for their logistical support as well as the staff of the EMATER and farmers’ union offices in Mário Campos who were instrumental in setting up initial contacts with the municipality’s farming community. We remain indebted to all the participants for their time and willingness to take part in the study. We also thank David Abson, Joern Fischer, Lorenza B. Fontana, Brenda B. Lin and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on previous versions of this manuscript. This research was funded through a Washington State University grant to MJC.

Supplementary material

12571_2015_475_MOESM1_ESM.tif (74.9 mb)
Supplementary Figure 1 Proportion of farming establishments within different land holding size categories in states with active PSD programs engaging with individual farmers. Like in several other states, the majority of farmers in Minas Gerais operate lands smaller than 20 ha in size. Data are based on the 2006 Brazilian agricultural census (IBGE 2014a). (TIFF 76676 kb)
12571_2015_475_Fig4_ESM.gif (84 kb)

High Resolution (GIF 84 kb)

12571_2015_475_MOESM2_ESM.tif (74.7 mb)
Supplementary Figure 2 Proportion of the farming establishment engaging in different farming activities in states with active PSD programs that include individual farmers. In most states, including Minas Gerais, the majority of farmers engage in livestock production with little horticulture and varying degrees of temporary and permanent cash crop production. Data are based on the 2006 Brazilian agricultural census (IBGE 2014a). (TIFF 76475 kb)
12571_2015_475_Fig5_ESM.gif (80 kb)

High Resolution (GIF 79 kb)

12571_2015_475_MOESM3_ESM.tif (75 mb)
Supplementary Figure 3 Proportion of agricultural land managed by different income categories in states with active PSD programs engaging with individual farmers. In most states, including Minas Gerais, states, the majority of land is managed by farmers earning less than R$10,500 per month. Data are based on the 2006 Brazilian agricultural census (IBGE 2014a). (TIFF 76826 kb)
12571_2015_475_Fig6_ESM.gif (83 kb)

High Resolution (GIF 83 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johan A. Oldekop
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • M. Jahi Chappell
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Felipe E. Borges Peixoto
    • 2
  • Adriano Pereira Paglia
    • 5
  • Marina Schmoeller do Prado Rodrigues
    • 5
  • Karl L. Evans
    • 6
  1. 1.Sheffield Institute for International DevelopmentThe University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.School of the EnvironmentWashington State UniversityVancouverUSA
  3. 3.Center for Social and Environmental JusticeWashington State UniversityVancouverUSA
  4. 4.Institute for Agriculture and Trade PolicyMinneapolisUSA
  5. 5.Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  6. 6.Department of Animal and Plant SciencesThe University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  7. 7.International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) Research Network School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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