Brazil Earmarks Over Half a Billion Dollars for Agricultural Research

Researchers from Embrapa in Brazil Brazil's Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), one of the companies that is mainly responsible for the development of new agricultural technologies in Brazil should have 914 million Brazilian reais to invest in agricultural research between May and the end of 2010.

The funds should be part of the Growth Acceleration Plan (PAC) for the sector, launched by the Brazilian Federal Government last week. The minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Reinhold Stephanes, recalled, during the release of the program, that 60% of the increase in productivity of Brazilian agribusiness is due to research work.

Apart from the funds, the plan also forecasts the establishment of a private company connected to the Embrapa. The idea, according to material disclosed by the institution, is to create branches like Embrapa Participações, that may work in association with the private sector.

One of the activities of this private branch should be in the institutional area. Embrapa plans to be more agile to supply the foreign demand and transfer technology. The company has structures abroad, like the offices in Ghana, in Africa, and Venezuela.

Of the 914 million reais announced by the government, 650 million reais (US$ 390 million) should be turned directly to Embrapa and  264 million reais (US$ 158 million) should go to state organizations that are part of the National Agricultural Research System (SNPA), coordinated by the Embrapa.

One of the areas in which the funds should be used is the in challenges of science. That is, the development of genome technology, nanoscience and information technology. Another area for investment of the money is the preparation of produce for climate change.

The funds in the PAC should also be used for public policies in the agricultural and livestock sector, like development of family agriculture, agroenergy, international cooperation, agrarian reform and Indian populations.

Another part of the funds should be turned to improvement of the structure for agricultural research. That is, the hiring of another 750 researchers and another 460 professionals for support to research, as well as modernization of the company's laboratory infrastructure and the establishment of new research centers.

"We fear no challenges; they are part of the Embrapa DNA," stated the company president, Silvio Crestana, on announcing the new targets.

The investment announced in the PAC should be added to the Embrapa budget. This year, the organization has a forecasted budget of 1.17 billion reais (US$ 701 million). In 2010, the institution plans a budget of 1.5 billion reais (US$ 900 million).

Last year the company had social profit of 15.47 billion. For each real invested in research, the organization had a return, in benefits to the Brazilian society, of 13.36 reais. The company is currently a world reference in tropical agriculture and celebrated, last week, its 35 anniversary.

Anba

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