The evolving face of agribusiness investment along Brazil’s new frontier:

Institutional investors, recent political moves, and the financialization of the Matopiba
13 October 2017

In recent decades, the Cerrado biome has become a driving economic force in Brazil. Deemed the “world’s most important agricultural expansion zone for this century” by the late Norman Borlaug, the founder of the Green Revolution, the central Brazilian plateau spans 2 million square kilometers, 10 states, and is home to more than 25 million people.

Despite relatively acidic and infertile soil, in addition to lacking infrastructure, the region – covering nearly one quarter of the country’s total territory – has become a destination for large-scale, export-oriented agribusiness. As one of the most productive regions of Brazil and by extension South America, the so-called “miracle of the Cerrado” (The Economist, 2010) has been lauded as a successful case of agricultural modernization, intensification, and export-oriented growth achieved largely by way of foreign and transnational investment (Delgado, 2012). Likewise, the process of rapid agribusiness expansion across the region has fit into broad bodies of scholarly work on land concentration, land grabbing, and dispossession of the Brazilian countryside (Sauer and Leite, 2012; Borras et al, 2012).