A study by Brazil’s Economic Research Institute Foundation (FIPE) reveals that family farming, although it occupied only 30% of the country’s tilled area, accounted for nearly 38% of the gross value of Brazilian agricultural production last year.
The secretary of Family Farming in the Ministry of Agrarian Development, Valter Bianchini, recalled that a study conducted by the ministry, using data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics’ (IBGE) 1995/96 Census, already indicated the importance of this sector in the composition of the gross value of domestic agricultural production.
"Now the FIPE, using the same methodology used for agribusiness, showed that over a third of all that is produced in Brazil from one end to the other of the agribusiness supply chain comes from family farming," he emphasized.
In the economist’s view, this demonstrates that the activity represents an important category from both social and economic standpoints.
According to Bianchini, over four million family farms exist today in Brazil, with 12 million farmers, since, on the average, three members of the same family work on each property.
In the state of Rio de Janeiro alone, he added, there are 80 thousand family farms, which means around 250 thousand people employed directly on the land.
He also referred to data from the National Program to Strengthen Family Farming (PRONAF), indicating that a family farm creates direct jobs for up to two permanent workers.
"It contributes to employment in agro-industry, transportation, markets, and along the entire supply chain. It is a category that has a direct correlation with the generation of employment and income," he considered.