Political Implications

Effects of industrial agriculture in Brazil

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Introduction of technology into a developing country's local farming regime can have deleterious effects on local farmers. Until technology is introduced in context of local ecosystems, farming techniques, traditions and beliefs, it will rarely be successful. Brazil is a prime example of negative consequences from technology. Brazil began to specialize in soybean production to pay off international debts in the 1970's. The government cleared land and approximately 900,000 hectares of mixed farming land was converted for soybean production (Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential). Soybean production reduces labor requirements 7 to 8 times as much as the amount needed for other crops. Local farmers went out of business due to labor reduction and competition with larger farms. Water pollution and soil erosion increased. The shift in cultivation greatly increased deforestation, along side cattle ranching, which contributes to the loss in biodiversity. Additionally, since the explosion of massive soybeans production, malnutrition in Brazil has risen from one third of the population to two thirds (Kirschenmann, 1999). Biotech companies say GM crops present solutions to world hunger caused by over population. However it seems they are creating a global market that further stratifies farmers by making the larger farmers richer and closing out small, local farmers. A consolidation of food suppliers cannot aid world hunger until the problem of distribution is addressed. The introduction of Monsanto's crops will not help local farmers, until genetically engineered products find their way onto the dinner tables of the local people.

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