Rural resiliency in hot semiarid regions

According to Marcel Mazoyer and Laurence Roudart, who are the authors of the book “História das Agriculturas no Mundo” (History of World Agriculture), the difference in the productivity ratio between the most productive rural growers and the least productive ones in the period between world wars was 10 times. Fifty years later, after the introduction of the arising technological progress from increasing mechanization and the green revolution, the same ratio increased by 2000 times. The majority of these improvements in efficiency were captured by developed economies and by a few regions in developing countries. In a recent article from the “Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada” (IPEA) (The Institute of Applied Economic Research), entitled “Eficiência Produtiva e Pobreza Rural no Nordeste Brasileiro” (Productive Efficiency and Rural Poverty in Northeastern Brazil), the authors highlighted the evidence for the past 20 years from Brazilian and Chinese agriculture to display the highest growth productivity rates in the world.

However, the productive performance of Brazilian agriculture was also very heterogeneous, especially regarding the northeastern region, which has not kept up with the performance from other the regions in the country. The contribution from the IPEA research identified the low dynamism of that region especially linked to semiarid performance. This low growth index, high poverty rates, and increased exposition to climatic changes are some of the common features of semiarid regions in developing countries. Such regions are especially susceptible to periods of draughts and imbalanced rains, as well as displaying low productivity, deficient infrastructures, water supply scarcity, and limited access to different types of markets.

In December of this year, the “Banco do Nordeste” (Northeastern Bank) held a seminar and organized by the “Centro de Gestão e Estudos Estratégicos (CGEE)” (Management and Strategic Study Center) and the World Bank, the “Avaliação da Seca de 2010–2016 no Semiárido” (Evaluation of the Draught from 2010 to 2016 in the Semiarid). At that event, the book “Secas no Brasil: Política e Gestão Proativas” (Draughts in Brazil: Policy and Proactive Management) was published. The conclusion drawn from the discussions that as time went on to make the policy makers reach the most accurate diagnostic on the problem of draughts and that has brought about more effective planning and policy implementation. Innovative solutions have been proposed regarding this. The same advances have been achieved by researchers and policy makers from other hot semiarid regions in the world, such as is the case on the African continent. Such as increasing the resilience of rural families and growers from these regions is the large-scale challenge. Regarding this, the cooperation and exchange of technical information, research studies, solutions, innovations, and the collection of good practices, as these are the goals being sought by all of us, agents who are directly involved in making policies for such regions.

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