The Technology That the City Does Not See

Agriculture is a broad concept. It encompasses all animal and vegetable products that come to the Brazilian (and all the countries) table.

It starts with the wood used in the construction of the table, then goes through the cotton table cloth covering the table.

Chicken, meat and pork are agricultural products which have cereal as the base of their feed. Milk production, for better performance and constancy, also depends on grain-based diets.

It is a common confusion between agriculture and agribusiness. Agriculture concerns the work of the farmer, from the land preparation to harvest or the sale of animals.

The concept goes beyond agribusiness. It includes the intake produce that the farmer makes use of from industries, as well as the industry that benefits from agricultural production and the distribution of all products sold.

This abundant Brazilian agriculture, which has long ceased to be a mere commodity exporter, is based on a strong technological apparatus. When speaking of agriculture in Brazil today, the talk is about a rural universe of high technology, of which the urban population enjoys, but few see.

Adapted seeds are developed with great effort by researchers from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). From this we get farm machinery, pesticides, fertilizers, and the use of biotechnology for modification of adapted varieties.

And we still have genetic selection techniques, as in in-vitro fertilization and cloning, widely used in animal production and fish.

Despite the romanticism that is required in the activities of creating, planting and harvesting, the competition between each link in the chain for a bigger slice of the profit sector is hardly poetic.

The weakest link is the farmer. While as a general rule he makes use of technology, there is no way for the farmer to overcome this fragile condition, especially if he does not have the scale of production.

The challenge is to expand the number of producers who are part of the agribusiness success. It doesn’t matter whether he is an island of prosperity or perhaps a continent of success.

Increasing, strengthening and consolidating a rural middle class should be the endeavor of all, as it is with the urban middle class.

This path will only be possible if we make every innovation and all technology in the country accessible to the majority of producers. Today, few have access to the existing technological apparatus.

The way to democratize knowledge and technology in the field is the rapid implementation of a policy of rural extension or technical service.

Producers need to be technically qualified to make the correct choices; to be able to form a business plan and improve their managerial skills are absolutely essential tasks.

These are tools that allow us to multiply the production of our lands, without the deforestation of even a single tree.

The act of disseminating knowledge and technology is almost a profession of faith. It is the most sustainable and honest way to protect people and their businesses.

While governments of various countries subsidize their agriculture worldwide, pumping billions of dollars into the sector, in Brazil there is no subsidized agriculture.

The producer works with cost control in hand and, when defining his production system, in the market he looks for technologies painstakingly developed by Embrapa and Agribusiness providers.

Our choice is the pursuit of innovation, which enables us to overcome the cost of the harmful challenges in Brazil.

Brazilian agriculture — which today sustains the balance of trade, generating more than 1 million jobs every year, and contributing to 22.5 percent of all wealth produced in the nation — without relying on government handouts, and doing it all without complaint.

Only in rich countries can society afford to play around with the inefficient sectors of the economy that refuse to invest in technology and innovation, but these sectors instead remain on the hunt for government subsidies.

Kátia Abreu – Senator of the Republic through the state of Tocantins, Brazil


Brazil Seeks Private Partners to Operate Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte Airports

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday unveiled plans to hand over two more of the country’s busiest airports to the private sector, part of a huge infrastructure investment plan that hopes to remove some of the bottlenecks that hold back economic growth.

Soaring demand for air travel both within Brazil and overseas has put many of the existing airports under strain, and that will be exacerbated as the country prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. In the past decade, air traffic has more than doubled, likely topping 170 million travelers this year.

“Brazil will have, on the horizon of 2030 and 2050, exponential growth in demand,” Ms. Rousseff said in Brasilia. ” This is an industry in which partnerships with the private sector will be very much emphasized.”

Under the plans, the international airports of Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, two of Brazil’s most populous cities, will be handed over to private operators early in 2014. By government estimates, the eventual winners of a bidding process will need to invest a total of 11.4 billion Brazilian reais ($5.4 billion) to expand and improve the airports.

At the same time, the government will invest a further BRL7.3 billion to develop regional airports itself. By upgrading airports far from Brazil’s major coastal cities, regional air traffic will likely surge, creating more competition among airlines.

Outdated and inadequate transportation infrastructure is seen as one of the central obstacles in Brazil’s effort to compete in the global economy, and in response Ms. Rousseff this year has announced billions of reais in investment and a massive privatization program of roads, railways and ports to try to attract even more investment.

That capacity strain is mirrored in the larger economy, which will likely struggle to grow 1% this year.

A push by Ms. Rousseff’s administration to drive down the costs for consumers has worked against that effort. The government has argued that the risk of doing business in Brazil has declined, and companies should expect to make lower returns, so that savings can be passed on to customers.

“The government has a fixation on low returns, but it’s wrong…because sometimes returns have to be high to guarantee a quality service,” said Paulo Resende, head of the infrastructure and logistics research center at business school Fundacao Dom Cabral.

The government has raised the bar for potential participants from a previous auction in February, when major airports in the cities of Sao Paulo, Campinas and Brasilia were handed over to private-sector operators. Bidders must now demonstrate that they already manage at least 35 million passengers per year, up from 5 million in the previous round.

“On the one hand you improve the quality, but you also lower competition,” said Marlon Ieiri, a partner at the FH Cunha law firm, which provided legal services for bidders during the first wave of privatizations. In these auctions, in which whoever pays most for the license wins, “the more competition the better for the government,” he said.

Airlines have criticized that model of the highest price taking the prize, concerned that operators will raise fees to recoup their investments. But there’s also hope that competition among airports will hold down fees. Viracopos airport in Campinas serves as a hub for Brazil’s third-biggest airline, Azul, alleviating traffic at Sao Paulo’s crowded Congonhas national airport. They say Confins airport in Belo Horizonte could be developed as a stop-over airport, drawing away traffic from Sao Paulo and Brasilia.

The airline industry is keen for the government to press on with its airports program.

“We need to step on the gas,” said Eduardo Sanovicz, president of airline association Abear. “The more airports the better.”

Source: NASDAQ

Brazil company sells cellphones with iPhone name

 It’s not your Apple’s iPhone.

A Brazilian company has begun selling smartphones in Brazil with the iPhone brand after winning the legal right to use the name in Latin America’s biggest country. Adding insult to Apple Inc.’s injury, the phone runs on the Android operating system from archrival Google Inc.

Gradiente SA said in a statement that it filed its request to use the iPhone brand in 2000 when it realized “there would be a technological revolution in the world of cellphones with the convergence of voice and data transmission and reception via mobile Internet.”

In 2008 Brazil’s government gave Gradiente the right to use the brand on its cellphones.

Brazilian trademark office spokeswoman Maratan Marques said Gradiente requested permission to use the brand before Apple did and has the exclusive right to use it through 2018.

Brazil Apple spokeswoman Maria Parra Rodriguez said the company had no immediate comment. Phone calls and emails to Apple Inc.’s headquarters in California went unanswered.

Gradiente said on its website that it started selling its iPhone on Tuesday for 600 reals ($300). It runs the relatively old 2.3 version of Android and its features include a 3.7-inch touch-sensitive screen, Bluetooth, dual chip capability, 3G, Wi-Fi and camera. Its appearance is similar to that of Apple’s iPhone.

The Brazilian company said it did not use the iPhone name until now because its “priority was to conclude a corporate restructuring process that ended earlier this year.”

“In Brazil, Gradiente has the exclusive right to use the iPhone brand,” the statement said. “This company will adopt all the measures used by companies around the world to preserve its intellectual property rights.”

A company official said Apple had not contacted Gradiente and she didn’t know of any attempt by Apple to contest Gradiente’s use of the iPhone name.

The executive, who insisted on speaking anonymously because she was not authorized to speak to the press, added that she did not know if Gradiente would try to stop Apple iPhone sales in Brazil.

Major cellphone operators and retail outlets advertised Apple iPhones on their websites Wednesday.

Source: Yahoo News

Brazil’s Mantega: Economy in Transition to Higher Growth

Brazil’s economy is in a transition to higher growth rates next year based on economic stimulus and structural reform measures taken in 2012, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists at a year-end gathering, the minister acknowledged that economic growth in 2012 seen at around 1% was disappointing, but said the government was confident local activity was already on a path of acceleration.

“There’s a possibility to grow between 4.0% to 4.5% in 2013,” Mr. Mantega said, adding, “I’ll stick with a projection closer to 4%.”

The minister said that in 2012 the government had already implemented important structural reforms including measures to cut interest rates, taxes on infrastructure and payrolls, as well as improving exchange rate levels for industry.

He said specific tax cut actions this year, such as reduction of the IPI industrial products tax on home appliances and autos, acted as a catalyst to start a process of stronger growth.

Brazil’s government announced some 45 billion Brazilian reais in tax cuts in 2012 ($21.4 billion) and foresees BRL40 billion in tax reductions in 2013.

The minister, however, said the government planned to continue stimulus and reform measures ahead with changes in the ICMS goods and services tax, reductions in the PIS/COFINS welfare tax and rate reductions in the power sector for which the treasury should contribute at least BRL2-3 billion.

Some of the new tax reductions, the minister said, are expected to be detailed as early as Wednesday afternoon.

With the continued effort, Mr. Mantega said finance ministry officials expect the country’s investment rate to rise sharply in 2013 to around 19.2% of GDP from 18.5% currently.

Regarding the international environment in the coming year, the minister said he believed the U.S. and Chinese economies would provide some support for improvements following recent signs of acceleration in those regions.

He was less optimistic about improvements in Europe, however, where third and fourth quarter data showed a scenario of continued stagnation.

He also said he wasn’t counting on improvements in regional trade in the Mercosur bloc due to continued trade conflicts with neighboring Argentina.

Source: Euro Investor