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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Agriculture and Food

Handbook of the International Political Economy of Agriculture and Food

Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series

Edited by Alessandro Bonanno and Lawrence Busch

This book tackles the central question of the political and structural changes and characteristics that govern agriculture and food. Original contributions explore this highly globalized economic sector by analyzing salient geographical regions and substantive topics. Along with chapters that investigate agri-food in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Oceania, the book includes contributions that cover topics such as labor, science and technology, the financialization of agri-food, and supermarkets.

Chapter 6: Brazilian farmers, quality and markets

Josefa Salete Barbosa Cavalcanti and Evander Eloi Krone

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, environment, agricultural economics, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, political economy


Studies of the development of agriculture in Brazil stress the nation’s colonial past based on the role that geographical discoveries and the rule of Portugal played in the establishment of a system of production of goods for European markets. In the first few centuries of Brazil’s economic and agricultural expansion, two key production systems were employed. The first consisted of sugar plantations on the fertile coastal wetlands, and the second was the extensive livestock operations on large tracts of land in the interior of the country (Andrade 1973; Garcia 1975). In the Sertão of the Northeast, ownership was defined through land grants called capitanias hereditárias, or hereditary captaincies, and their partitions “sesmarias.” These were lands granted to representative segments of the power structure of the colony, called “sesmeiros” or grantees, who became the actors of a hierarchical structure characterized by a powerful landowning class that prevails to this day (Faoro 1958; Bruno 2009).

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