Challenges and opportunities for a sustainable agriculture in Brazil

L.R.G. Guilherme, A.S. Lopes, A.P. Corguinha
Brazil has been recognized as a global player in the production of food, feed, fuel, and fibers (4Fs), thanks to the use of scientifically sound technologies that allowed our agro-ecosytems to increase yields in a sustainable way. Indeed, agricultural activities are very relevant in Brazil not only because they provide jobs, income, and welfare for many Brazilians, but also due to the fact that much of the global future needs related to food (in)security in the short/medium terms are estimated to come from tropical agro-ecosystems, including Brazilian ones. This paper highlights the importance of agriculture for Brazil's development and for assuring global food security in the perspective of climate change. In this context, we emphasize the importance of maintaining the quality of soils in agroecosystems, discussing relevant aspects and constraints related to soil fertility management, as this is a big challenge for many agricultural areas in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Special attention is given to approaches that could maintain and/or increase soil organic matter contents, since this is per se the best and most used indicator of the health and resilience of agroecosystems worldwide. Finally, we discuss the need for continuous investments in Research, Development & Innovation strategies that are necessary for ensuring healthy, resilient, and sustainable agroecosystems in the tropics, especially in Brazil. We also underline the need of efficient rural extension (outreach) systems for appropriate technology transfer, a major 'achilles heel' in Brazilian agriculture as well as in many other tropical countries. Given that, we anticipate that Brazil will continue to lead the next revolution in tropical agriculture, with a concept on “sustainable intensification”, focusing on low-carbon, resource-saving technologies and gains in land productivity to assure sustainable production of the 4Fs, while maintaining many other relevant ecosystem services that agriculture can provide to humankind.
Guilherme, L.R.G., Lopes, A.S. and Corguinha, A.P. (2018). Challenges and opportunities for a sustainable agriculture in Brazil. Acta Hortic. 1224, 1-6
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1224.1
food security, climate change, global, agricultural

Acta Horticulturae