THE BLOG

Archaic and Modern

Agriculture is the strategic main base in Brazil's global competition. Its high productivity, quality and quantity break through barriers, lower prices and make life better and cheaper. Unjustly, this uncontested and statistically demonstrable truth, which makes rural life combined with technology a material and economic novelty, has yet to have the symbolic visibility throughout society.

Much needs to be made clear concerning our greatest comparative and competitive advantage.

Due to the lack of information about the modern agricultural revolution taking place in our country, there are some who do not yet know what we have that is so promising; whereas, others pretend not to know because of skepticism or an attachment to the myths of an archaic country. These factors reduce the momentum of growth in Brazil.

But those who live the country life, integrated with urban progress, understand this well because the interests of rural citizens is compatible with the statement of principles for all citizens of our country.

The Brazilian challenge is not a division between two Brazils -- the new one having the illusion that it can magically expel the antiquated practices of politics, economy, and social life. But it rather convinces the country that modernity should assimilate the archaic, making the latter dysfunctional and unnecessary.

The whole process of social mobility in our country, which has allowed the emergence and progress of different social classes, higher income distribution and access to goods and consumer products, is due primarily to stabilization and cheaper food prices. Having access to technology and the dissemination of scientific knowledge applied to agriculture all these years has prevented shortages, supply crisis and any threat to political stability.

By spending less on food, urban and rural families have been able to live better.

And as in no other country in the world, all this effort combines environmental preservation with quality and quantity of food produced.

Even when the shortage of manpower in the field caused an increase in costs, the field of technology boosted productivity, slowing the rise in prices. And in areas where there is still low productivity, poverty and social exclusion -- of properties and owners -- we can say that such a reality is a reflection of the lack of technological diffusion.

A public policy to generate and disseminate technology involving, among other measures, the reorganization of the system of technical assistance, extension and creation of a body entirely dedicated to this purpose is essential in order to consolidate the advances of society here and create conditions for moving forward

This new policy which would help democratize access to technology and the modernization of small and family farms may be the main factor inhibiting the archaism persistent in several regions.

And there comes a certainty that bothers critics of the success of our agriculture: progress in the area is the factor that saves land and maintains environmental stability. It is not the planted area that reflects higher productivity, but the technology used.

The historian and British economist Arnold Toynbee says that "there are two constant factors in social life: the spirit of man and his environment.

Social life is the relationship between them, and life only rises to the summit of civilization when the spirit of man is the dominant partner of the relationship - when, instead of being shaped by the environment, or simply preserving itself in tension with the environment in a kind of balance, it shapes the environment in accordance with its purpose leaving its imprint in the world"

The Brazilian agricultural intelligence is creating its own imprint of success by respecting the untouchable part of our territory and preserving and maintaining fertile the cultivated part. It is much more than any great visionary of a just world can accept and understand.

Brazilian senator for the PSD party in the Tocantins State, Brazil, and CNA - Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock's Chairwoman.

Subscribe to the World Post email.