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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the progression of Brazil’s agriculture since the end of World War II, a period during which a highly concentrated pattern of land distribution remained basically unchanged, despite remarkable changes in agriculture. Three different phases are recognized: a phase of horizontal expansion, up to the early 1970s, in which agriculture remained essentially traditional; a period of substantial but conservative modernization of agriculture, from the early 1970s to the late 1990s; and a phase of consolidation of modernization. It highlights the development of two key elements: a modern segment, usually composed of large farm units; and “traditional agriculture,” constituted mainly of small farms. The chapter discusses their contributions to growing commodity exports and to the supply of food for domestic markets. The chapter concludes by examining events—affecting both the large-scale agriculture and small farm units—that led to the maintenance of the concentrated pattern of land tenure.

Keywords: agriculture, Brazil, land tenure, traditional agriculture, modernization, land distribution

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