Brazil is a world leader in agriculture and on several environmental issues,
but it will find it hard to reconcile both fronts, judging by the many battles
lost by former environment minister Marina Silva, in spite of the political
clout she wielded for over five years.
The advantages enjoyed by agriculture in this country are not limited to the
availability of vast amounts of land and water, and a favourable climate. Brazil
has developed technology and practices that have greatly increased crop yields,
and made it an unbeatable exporter of a large number of products.
Brazil is a top producer of sugar, coffee, meats, ethanol, orange juice and
soybeans. Output of grains has doubled in a decade, and it has surpluses of rice
and maize, which it used to import a few years ago. Now it is dependent on
imports of only one commodity for mass consumption: wheat.
Today, the boom of the biofuels industry and the soaring ...