barzilBrazil is located on the eastern Atlantic coast of South America, enjoying the status of being the largest country in the Latin America and South American region. The country once was a colony of the Empire of Portugal. Brazil’s population is about 198 million, and the name of its capital is Brasilia. The official language is Portuguese. Administratively, Brazil is a federation comprising 26 autonomous States (headed by governors) and Municipalities (headed by mayors). Due to its fast growing and impressive economy based on natural resources, industry and agriculture, Brazil is presently considered as an economic powerhouse in the world. In spite of its distinguished economic standing, however, a large number of Brazilians still remain poor.



In view of its very large geographical size and diverse topography, Brazil has several micro-climates, but the overall climate is tropical, with plenty of rainfall. Thick rain forests lining the Amazon River are well known for their flora, fauna and indigenous population. Most of the southern region of Brazil thrives in agriculture due to having almost all the required natural and man-made ingredients. The northeastern region and the Amazon basin, however, are not that active in agriculture due to a lack of those ingredients.

The agricultural sector, including agribusiness, plays an important role in the Brazilian economic development. Brazil makes an amazing case where, within a period of two decades starting 1990s, agriculture has been transformed from a traditional practice into a global industrial power. Some of the factors contributing to the boom in the Brazilian agricultural sector are vast natural resources, appropriate public policies and institutional reforms, high direct foreign investment, improved infrastructure although not fully, an elaborate and agile agricultural research corporation, presence of large-sized farms although relatively small in number, social extension services for small family farmers, crop diversity including, controversial genetically modified (GM) crops, development of additional land for agriculture, double cropping, till-less cultivation, mechanization, agro-industry base, farmers’ organizations, and environment friendly operations such as low carbon emission program (ABC), organic farming and biofuels. Brazil leads the world in sugarcane and coffee production. Other main crops include corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, tobacco and cotton. The livestock sub-sector is also of great economic value. Agricultural exports are coffee, soybeans, beef, sugarcane, ethanol, orange juice, and frozen poultry. The average size of the country’s 86 percent farms is less than 100 hectares; about 8.2 percent of the farms are between 100 and 1,000 hectares; and only 0.9 percent of the farms are above  1,000 hectares in size. Thus, small family farms, totaling about 4.54 million, compete with large farms, especially in export and agribusiness matters, by organizing themselves in cooperatives and associations.

Key Statistics and Indicators




Agricultural land (sq. km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)











Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)



Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)









GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)



Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)











Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)





Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population

Rural population (% of total population)

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*



















Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO


History of extension and the enabling environment

During the 1800s

A need to modernize the agricultural sector was felt in Brazil after a labor shortage occurred due to the abolishment of the slave trade in 1850. An Imperial Decree in 1859 approved the establishment of five Imperial Research Institutes, but only two institutes sustained, that is, Imperial Agricultural Institute at Rio de Janeiro (IIFA), and Imperial Agricultural Institute at Bahia (IIBA). Both institutes mainly covered sugarcane and coffee, but IIFA undertook both research and extension activities.

The Agricultural School of Bahia was opened in 1877 (which became the Federal University of Bahia in 1904), while the Higher School of Agriculture was established in 1883 at Eliseu Macedo. The Faculty of Agronomy at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul was started in 1899.The Imperial Agronomic Station of Campinas that was established in 1887 (later renamed as the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC), was the first state institute which still exists with some modifications over time. The National Society of Agriculture was created in 1897 to perform some of the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture.

During the 1900s

During the 1920s, the Ministry of Agriculture established a number of agricultural experimentation stations and research institutes at various locations.  In 1937, the Ministry of Agriculture created the National Center of Agricultural Training and Research (CNEPA – Centro Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisas Agronomicas) whose training section was converted in 1943 into Rural University of Brazil.

Starting in the early 1940s, several commodity-focused producer organizations provided, albeit limited, extension and advisory services to their members. The first state extension service established in Sao Paulo State was the Office of Coordination of Integral Technical Assistance (CATI – Coordenadora de Assistencia Tecnica Integrada). It was followed by the creation of the first Credit and Rural Assistance Association (ACAR – Associacao de Credito e Assistencia Rural) in 1949 in Minas Gerais State, based on a successful extension methodology used in the USA. Later, several states in Brazil copied this approach. In 1956, the Brazilian Rural Credit and Assistance Association (ABCAR – Associacao Brasileira de Credito e Assistencia Rural) was created with two main objectives: first, integration of all existing state services into one national system, and the second, provision of general extension services along with advising the farmers on applying for and using the agricultural credit. The state ACARs also initiated programs on improving local health and nutrition standards. By 1965, the ABCAR system had established 254 local offices with 652 technicians, and by 1974, it had grown to 1,400 local offices and 4,400 technicians, assisting about 344,000 farmers. Although the ABCAR system operated successfully, it could not be financially sustained, apart from the disturbance caused by frequent changes in policy and personnel.

In 1962, the Department of Agricultural Research and Experiment was formed, which was renamed in 1970 as the National Agricultural Research and Experiment Department (DNPEA). In 1973, the government created the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA – Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria) which took over all of DNPEA functions and facilities. Since then, EMBRAPA has been playing a key role in the R&D of Brazil.

USAID assistance
A 10-year long technical assistance program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was implemented from 1963 to 1973 with the main objective of strengthening higher education in agriculture. Four Brazilian universities collaborated with four U.S. universities (Federal University of Ceara with the University of Arizona; the Federal University of Vicosa with Purdue University; the Higher School of Agriculture of the University of Sao Paulo with Ohio State University, and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul with the University of Wisconsin). Upon completion of this particular program, another USAID funded program was started that focused on developing institutional capacity of the Federal University of Vicosa in agricultural extension. The general aim was to introduce the U.S. model of land-grant universities in Brazil under which local universities could engage in education, research and extension.

In the early 1970s, the government took several measures to strengthen agricultural support services. In 1974, the government established the Brazilian Enterprise for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (EMBRATER – Empresa Brasileira de Assistencia Tecnica e Extensao Rural), a government-owned corporation linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, to replace ABCAR. The existing ACARs were renamed as EMATERs. EMBRATER was created with the intention of continuing funding to the state extension services (EMATERs), and to guide, promote and coordinate technical assistance program.

With the aims of synchronizing, reviewing and coordinating research activities of EMBRAPA and extension activities of EMBRATER, and to ensure that they remain responsive to national development goals, the government established a National Commission for Agricultural Research and Technical Assistance (COMPATER – Comissao Nacional de Pesquisa Agropecuaria, Assistencia Tecnica e Extensao Rural). COMPATER was chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and its membership comprised representatives of EMBRAPA, EMBRATER, Central Bank, National Farmers Confederation, National Agricultural Workers Federation, and private sector agro-industrial interest groups. The overall extension structure was referred to as the National System for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (SIBRATER – Sistema Brasileiro de Assistencia Tecnica e Extensao Rural). In 1977, there were about 7,000 field technicians in the SIBRATER system, assisting about 565,000 farm families. On average, each extension agent covered about 80 farmers, but mainly to supervise agricultural credit. Given the existence of about 4.9 million agricultural properties at that time, the extension services covered only 12 percent of the farmers.

World Bank assistance
A major World Bank financed Agricultural Extension Project was launched in Brazil from 1978 to 1981. The project’s objective was to strengthen the federal and state institutions responsible for providing agricultural extension services, in support of the government’s ongoing programs to increase agricultural production, speed up development of the less developed areas, and improve the productivity of especially small farmers. This project complemented an ongoing World Bank funded agricultural research project in order to ensure that new technologies developed under the research project could reach the farmers. The implementation of the project unexpectedly took seven years instead of the planned four years.

As a follow up, another World Bank financed Agricultural Extension II Project was launched in 1986. Its objectives were: (a) further institutional strengthening of EMBRATERs (associate state agencies)/ASTERs (territorial agencies) that carried out field level extension activities; (b) expansion and improvement of extension services; (c) improvement in applied extension methodology (to emphasize group contact approach); (d) strengthening of farmer/extension/research linkages; (e) provision of training, technical assistance and studies; and (f) expansion of social extension and community development programs.

Public extension undermined
After the World Bank projects on extension were completed, the then-government drastically reduced the funding for rural extension, and EMBRATER was closed in 1990. That left several state extension agencies without funds as they used to receive federal funding through EMBRATER. The government became busy in emphasizing agribusiness without using the public funded extension services. However, social movements aimed at promoting sustainable agricultural development quickly made the government realize that the public extension in support of family farms was a necessity for the alleviation of poverty, food security, and preservation of natural resources.

During the 2000s (till 2013)

Emergence of public and pluralistic extension 
In 2001, extension workers from state agencies, led by the National Council for Sustainable Rural Development (CNDRS - Conselho Nacionaal de Desenvolvimento Rural Sustentavel) prepared and got approved a draft national policy for public rural extension services. Although this draft policy was never implemented fully apparently due to federal vs. state government issue, it was rewritten in 2004 as the National Policy for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (PNATER). The implementation of this policy for the last several years has made the extension system of Brazil really pluralistic as it involves several public and private service providers (state extension agencies, i.e. EMATERs, civil society organizations like NGOs, farmers’ associations, rural unions, agricultural universities, rural cooperatives, private firms, and individual consultants), and not only small family farms but all categories of farmers are covered. The civil society extension providers are eligible to receive public funds and provide extension services at no cost to the recipient farmers. Issues like coordination among the service providers, and the development of appropriate extension methodologies under complex rural situation of a diverse country like Brazil remain to be sorted out. Meanwhile, the government announced in June 2013 that it is increasing the funding for subsidized loans to the farm sector by 18 percent to $68 billion.

Recent donor related developments
Brazil and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed a $40 million loan agreement in 2013 that will be used for reducing poverty and improving the livelihood of family farmers in Ceara State. The United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will provide a $39.2 million grant to Brazil, which will be administered by the Inter-American Development Bank, and will be used for giving grants to small and medium farmers to encourage the adoption of sustainable farming methods (low-carbon agriculture) in seven states that are critical to Brazil’s biomass. The cooperation between Brazil and China remains active for agricultural development in Africa as does the program of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Brazil that had given one million dollars to Brazil back in 2003 for Zero Hunger Project.

Extension Providers

Major institutions providing extension/advisory services

Public Institutions

Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (Ministerio da Agricultura, Pecuaria e Abastecimento)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply has overall responsibility for providing the public extension and advisory services to the farmers. Although agricultural extension is decentralized in Brazil and states are responsible for the provision of extension services, the Ministry retains supervisory, coordination, national policy matters, funding and backstopping like functions. The Ministry performs the extension function through its following organizations some of which are semi-autonomous.

  • Agency for Agrarian Development and Rural Extension (AGRAER – Agencia de Desenvolvimento Agrario e Extensao Rural) 
  • National Agency for Rural Extension (ANER - Agencia Nacional de Extensao Rural); a newly created organization
  • Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Cooperation (EMATER - Empresa de Assistencia Tecnica e Extensao Rural); each of 26 states has one EMATER. The mission of EMATER is to disseminate knowledge, to train farmers, their families, and rural workers in technological, organizational and management aspects of agricultural production with an aim to generate employment.
  • Technical Assistance Coordination (CATI – Coordenadoria de Assistencia Tecnica Integral) ; located in Sao Paulo State only
  • Brazilian Association of State Entities for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (ASBRAER – Association Brasileira das Entidades Estaduais de Assistencia Tecnica e Extensao Rural)
  • Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA - Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria); mainly engaged in agricultural research, but also has a Technology Transfer Department; provides occasional technical advice to mostly large farmers; according to a 2001 document, at least the following seven institutes located in various states that were originally established as agricultural research institutes, were later merged with the extension organization and renamed to undertake both research and extension activities:
    • EMATER-GO, located in Goias (Center-West Region)
    • EMPATER-MT, located in Mato Grosso (Center-West Region)
    • EMPATER-MS, located in Mato Grosso do Sul (Center-West Region)
    • EPAGRI, located in Santa Catarina (South Region)
    • EMDAGRO, located in Sergipe (Northeast Region)
    • EBDA, located in Bahia (Northeast Region)
    • EMCAPA, located in Espirito Santo (Southeast Region)


Although public universities with faculties of agriculture and veterinary medicine do not provide extension and advisory services per se to the farmers yet they serve on extension related committees, commissions and bodies at the federal and state levels. In addition, they offer academic programs in agricultural sciences including extension. Examples of such main public universities are as follows:

  • University of Sao Paulo (Universidade de Sao Paulo): located in Sao Paulo State; has a College of Agriculture, and a School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences.
  • Sao Paulo State University (Universidade Estadual Paulista de Mesquita Filho): has several campuses in Sao Paulo State; the campus at Botucatu has Faculty of Agronomy Science, and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science; the campus at Jaboticabal has Faculty of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais): located in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State; has a College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Federal University of Pelotas (Universidade Federal de Pelotas): has two campuses in Pelatos and Capao do Leao, in Rio Grande do Sul State; has College of Agronomy.
  • Federal University of Santa Maria (Universidade Federl de Santa Maria): located in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul State; has a Center of Rural Sciences; offers undergraduate programs in agronomy, forestry, veterinary medicine, and animal husbandry 
  • Federal University of Vicosa (Universidade Federal de Vicosa): located in the city of Vicosa, Minas Gerais State; started as the Higher College of Agriculture and Veterinary Science in 1922, but transformed into the Rural University of Minas Gerais in 1948; offers courses in agronomy, veterinary medicine, and animal husbandry 
  • Federal University of Sao Carlos (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos): located in Sao Carlos, Sao Paulo State; has a rural campus Lagoa do Sino on a 643 hectares farm, which focuses on courses in food security, family agriculture and sustainable development; the university also has an Agrarian Sciences Center and an Agricultural Engineering Center .
  • Federal University of Parana (Universidade Federal do Parana) located in Curitiba; offers undergraduate, Master’s and Doctoral programs in agronomical engineering, veterinary science, vegetable production, and environmental development.
  • Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul): has four campuses with College of Veterinary Medicine and a School of Agronomy .
  • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro):the first rural university that laid the foundations of agricultural education in Brazil in 1910; located in the city of Seropedica in Rio de Janeiro State; has separate  institutes of  agronomy, forestry sciences, veterinary and animal sciences.

Non-Public Institutions

Private sector

The private sector in Brazil is indeed active due to commercial farming, exports, and agro-based industries. Several multinational foreign companies have also been directly invested into agriculture in Brazil. However, little information is available on extension and advisory activities undertaken by these companies. Companies that are involved in selling farm inputs and machinery usually assist the buyer farmers in their application, operation and maintenance. Also, sometimes private companies could undertake extension like field activities in their efforts to promote their products. Names of some of the companies active in the agricultural sector of Brazil are:

U.S.A. multi-national companies
(companies from other countries such as Argentina, Germany and Switzerland also do active business in Brazil)

  • Monsanto at least $1 billion investment in Brazil
  • Cargill has been working in Brazil since 1965; has over 4,000 employees in Brazil; involved in soybean processing; production of liquid fertilizers; transportation of soybean and grain
  • Pioneer has been working in Brazil since 1972; mainly involved in soybean seed
  • Case Corp. started operations in Brazil in 1920; manufactures farm equipment

Brazilian companies

  • Vanguarda Agro SA (formerly known as Brasil Ecodiesel SA) is one of the largest, if not the largest, company; owns and operates on about 320,000 hectares of farm land in several states; involved in biodiesel, soybean, corn, and cotton production
  • SLC Agricola owns about 262,000 hectares of farm land in Brazil; produces cotton, corn and some other commodities
  • Agrifirma a modern farmland operating and development company founded in 2008; produces and exports coffee, cotton, corn and soybeans
  • BrasilAgro an agricultural real estate company
  • Bug Agentes Biologicos deals in biological control; for example, supplies predatory insect eggs and parasitoids for natural protection of crops like sugarcane and soybeans
  • Biosev SA involved in sugar business
  • BRF SA food meat products
  • Cia Cacique de Café Soluvel deals in coffee
  • Fertilizantes Heringer involved in agricultural chemicals
  • ZF Do Brasil Ltd. sale of farm tractors

Non-governmental organizations

Brazil reportedly has more than 200,000 NGOs, engaged in a wide variety of activities. Also, several farmers’ organizations have listed themselves as NGOs. There is no information available on any NGO in Brazil that is specifically engaged in agricultural extension work on a regular basis. However, it has been observed that NGOs’ work in the area of agricultural and rural development, including rural youth development, extension advice, natural resources preservation, climate change, rural poverty, women empowerment, etc., is usually done under contracts with the donor-funded projects. For example, the Dom Helder Camara Project (Sustainable Development Project for Agrarian Reform Settlements in the Semi-Arid North-East) in Brazil is financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), contracted as many as 65 NGOs to deliver technical assistance, extension and advisory services, and also involved them in capacity-building initiatives in a range of technical areas. Names of a few NGOs active in Brazil are:

  • Viva Rio rated by the Global Journal as the second best NGO in Brazil for the consecutive second year.
  • FASE  federation for social welfare and education; had 21 extension staff in 2009 .
  • Climate Observatory network of 26 NGOs in Brazil; established in 2002.
  • Abong – Brazilian Association of NGOs created in 1991; congregates 250 Brazilian organizations from all regions of the country .
  • SustainAGRO  a partnership among organizations involved in economic development of agriculture, interested in promoting sustainable practices and contributing to the growth of green economy.
  • Fazenda PuraVida dedicated to ecological sustainability through sustainable agriculture, permaculture, ecological building, and education and arts; its office bearers come from Brazil, France, and Sweden; a member of WWOOF Brasil (Willing Workers On Organic Farms).
  • Iko Poran works with NOs and provides them volunteer work, financial resources and technical support in management and marketing.
  • Association in Support of Agricultural Social Development had 52 staff in 2009 .
  • Socio-Environmental Technology Institute (Instituto de Tecnologia Socio Ambiental do Baixo Sul da Bahia); had 10 extension staff in 2009

Farmers-based associations, cooperatives and societies

Brazil has a large number of very active farmers- and producers-based associations and agricultural cooperatives, which have played an important role in influencing public policies on agricultural and rural development, as well as in strengthening and expanding the agricultural sector both nationally and internationally. According to IFAD, which works closely with agricultural cooperatives worldwide, the cooperatives in Brazil were responsible for 37.2 percent of agricultural GDP and 5.4 percent of overall GDP in 2009, and earned about $3.6 billion from exports. According to the Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB), the number of agricultural cooperatives in the country at the end of 2006 was 1,549, with a total of 886,076 members and 123,890 employees. Brazil also has the so-called “virtual cooperatives”, which have membership of 20 to 30 associated rural producers, have no physical building or administrative expenditure, and focus on certain niche commodities to be sold in domestic markets. All agricultural cooperatives and associations seek extension and advisory support from the public extension organization and/or private companies and individual consultants.

Sometimes, agricultural cooperatives and producers-based associations overlap each other. Also, apparently, some cooperatives are registered as associations and vice versa. A list of 118 Brazilian agri-business associations including their acronyms and websites may be seen at the following site:

Names of a the following few associations and cooperatives are given as examples:

  • COTREL – Erechim Growers Cooperative Limited founded in 1957, and located in southern Brazil; mainly a wheat cooperative, but also produces derivatives of swine, beef, chicken, milk, artichoke and industrialized fruit ; has 19 branches and 13,400 members, mostly small growers; is considered as the biggest agricultural cooperative in Rio Grande do Sul.
  • APROSMAT - Mato Grosso Seed Growers Association (Associacao dos Produtores de Sementes do Mato Grosso) established in 1980; assistance received from the state government agency Famato (Federacao da Agricultura do Estado de Mato Grosso) for cattle and soybeans producers; has a seed analysis lab; works in collaboration with the Mato Grosso Foundation (Fundacao Mato Grosso).
  • COATER – Rural Cooperative for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (Cooperativa de Assessoria Tecnica e Extensao Rural) .
  • ABCC - Brazilian Shrimp Farmers Association (Associacao Brasileira de Criadores de Camarao); located in Natal.
  • APROSOJA – Mato Grosso Soybean and Corn Producers Association (Associacao de Produtores de Soja e Milho do estado de Mato Grosso); soybean growers from 12 farms across Brazil maintaining photo galleries of their crops.
  • COAMO – Coamo Agro-industrial Cooperative (Coamo Agroindustrial Cooperativa) established in 1970; one of the largest agricultural cooperatives and one of the largest companies in Brazil; involved in agro-industries like soybean oil and cotton spinning; has membership in thousands; possesses warehouses in 53 municipalities.
  • APAEB – Association of Small Farmers of the State of Bahia a cooperative farm; members mostly sisal producers; annual revenue runs around $7 million; provides economic, social and educational opportunities for residents of the community.
  • Unicafes Parana an association, which is a division of the National Union of Smallholder Farmers and Solidary Economy Cooperatives; comprises 145 cooperatives; provides support in lobbying, advocacy, training and investment projects in the manufacturing sector, as well as management advice and instruments.
  • Coocafe is a Brazilian cooperative comprising about 6,000 small coffee farmers who are members of Fair Trade-Certified small farmer organizations; located in a mountainous region in the forests of the Minas Gerais and Espinto Santo States where the topography does not allow mechanization.
  • CNA – Agriculture and Livestock Confederation of Brazil (Confederacao da Agricultura e Pecuaria do Brasil) represents Brazil’s rural sector; leads the organizational system of the productive sector, from agriculture to livestock, from fishing to forests, and rural extractive processes; is the national discussion and decision-making forum for Brazil’s rural producers, acting in defense of the rights of farm and livestock producers and their socio-economic interests.
  • COODETEC – Central Agricultural Cooperative for Technology Development and Economics (Cooperativa Central Agropecuaria de Desenvolvimento Tecnologico e Economico Ltda).
  • COPERSUCAR – Cooperative for Sugarcane, Sugar, and Alcohol Producers of the State of Sao Paulo (Cooperativa dos Produtores de Cana, Acucar e Alcool do Estado de Sao Paulo Ltda).
  • Cooperativa Mista de Producao Agroindustrial e Familiar de Alpestre-RS is a farmer-based organization; located in Alpestre, Rio Grande do Dul; had 16 extension staff in 2009.

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Brezil. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.


Training options for extension professionals

Pre-service education in agricultural sciences including agricultural and rural extension may be pursued at any of the 10 universities listed under a previous section. All those universities have faculties to cover the subjects of agriculture, animal science, veterinary medicine and fisheries.  There is no institute meant exclusively for in-service training in agricultural extension. For such training, extension professionals will have to make arrangements to have special training needs based courses or workshops organized at any of the following institutions:

  • Universities with faculties of agriculture.
  • Agricultural research and extension institutes located in the field in various states overseen by EMBRAPA.
  • NGOs that have experience in implementing projects involving agricultural extension such as those which have worked under IFAD-financed projects on sustainable rural and agricultural development.
  • Private companies that are willing to organize training courses.
  • Current external donor-funded projects on rural and agricultural development in case they have capacity building or training component with adequate funds.


Info-mediaries and information and communication technology (ict) foragriculture and extension

With the launching of the National Research Network Initiative by the National Council for Science and Technology Development in 1989, Brazil started a nationwide program to promote the use of Internet. Since then the country has applied ICT to its research and education sectors and has seen various types of emerging users including NGOs and private companies. According to the World Bank, in 2012, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) in Brazil was 125.18. During the same year, the number of Internet users (per 100 people) in the country was 49.84. According to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Information and Society in 2009, although increases in ICT access were observed across all socioeconomic classes in Brazil, access remains skewed towards the more privileged classes; large numbers of Brazilians lack the capacity to use ICT effectively.

The main ICT actors in Brazil are:

  • The Ministry of Science and Technology  has the mission of planning, coordinating, supervising and controlling activities of science and technology, and research and development. One of its organizational arms is the National Council for Information Technology and Automation (CONIN), which is the highest body for defining policies for the information technology sector. Another ICT related public agency is the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq – Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Tecnologico) that supports Brazilian research and specialists in various fields of knowledge.
  • All major universities in Brazil are involved in ICT R&D activities.
  • Major private sector companies including Dell, HP, Samsung, LG, Siemens, Motorola, Nokia and some others, fund and promote IT research.
  • Examples of some other private companies/non-public institutes engaged in ICT R&D in Brazil are:

Although, there is no evidence of any ICTs are being used in support of agricultural extension and advisory services, yet the ICT application to the agricultural and rural development is gradually progressing in Brazil as shown by the following:

  • A workshop “Opening up Knowledge in Agricultural Innovation for Development” was held in Brasilia from November 29 to December 1, 2012. The event was jointly organized by EMBRAPA (Agricultural Research Corporation of Brazil), FAO, CGIAR, IICA, FORAGRO, and GFAR.
  • EMBRAPA recently contributed 470,000 bibliographic records to WorldCat , the world’s largest library catalogue.
  • The Brazilian Association for Informatics in Agriculture and Agroindustry (SBIAGRO)  focuses on agribusiness through the encouragement of new technologies, software and hardware quality certification, establishing standards, and defining the interests of its members when negotiating with the government on formulating ICT policies.
  • The Gems of the Earth Rural Community Center Network was established in 2003 as a national NGO to facilitate the formation and operation of telecenters in small Brazilian rural communities of less than 2,500 inhabitants. The mission of the NGO is to empower isolated rural communities through the use of ICTs in order to promote socio-economic development and integrate the population into the information society.
  • EMBRAPA and the University of Sao Paulo are jointly applying ICT to the precision agriculture cycle.


Resources and references

Arboleya, J. and E. Restaino. 2004. Agricultural extension models in South America: A description of systems in use in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. HorTechnology, January-March 2004 (14 (1), Pp. 14-19.

Beintema, N.M., A.F.D. Avila, and P.G. Pardey. 2001. Agricultural R&D in Brazil: Policy, Investments, and Institutional Profile. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Cardoso-Leite, E., F.C.M. Pina-Rodrigues, E.A. Costa Junior, P.K. Goncalves, D.S. Podadera, and N.B. Ruas. 2010. Agricultural Extension in Agroforestry and Empowerment of Rural Communities in Southern Brazil. ISDA, Montpellier, June 28-30, 2010.

Chaddad, F.R. and M.S. Jank. 2006. The Evolution of Agricultural Policies and Agribusiness Development in Brazil. Article published in the magazine CHOICES, 2nd Quarter 2006. 21(2), Pp. 85-90.

CINDES. 2012. Brazil: The Political Economy of Agriculture and Fertilizer Policies. Available at

ClearOnMoney (no date). Brazil agriculture [contains useful links to documents on Brazil agriculture]; available at:

Correa da Silva, H.B. 2011. “Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services for Alleviating Poverty and Hunger: Lessons from Brazil”, PowerPoint presentation made at the International Conference on Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services, held in Nairobi from November 15 to 18, 2011.

Duff, A.  2011. An Overview of Brazilian Agribusiness. PowerPoint presentation made at the Forum de Agronegocios Alemanha-Brasil. Rabobank Brazil.

EMBRAPA (Brazil). 2013. Welcome to Embrapa; PowerPoint presentation; available at

FAO.2012. Report on the International Workshop, “Opening up Knowledge in Agricultural Innovation for Development”, organized by EMBRAPA, FAO, CGIAR, IICA, FORAGRO, and GFAR at Brasilia, from October 29 to December 1, 2012.

Fronzaglia, T., V.G.F. Guedes, and E. Santos (no date). The Role of Agricultural Cooperatives Interaction with Public Research on Technological Change in Brazil. Latino-Americanos de Cooperativismo.

IFAD (no date). Federative Republic of Brazil: Sustainable Development Project for Agrarian Reform Settlements in the Semi-Arid North-East (Dom Helder Camara Project). Rome: International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Jose, H.D. 2005. Brazil and Its Role in Global Agriculture. Lincoln, Nebraska: Agricultural Economics Department, University of Nebraska.

Landim, L. 2008. Thirty Years and Recent Dilemmas: NGOs and Third Sector in Brazil (and Latin America). Paper presented at the 8th International Conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR).

Leite, C.T. and R.B. Radhakrishna. 2004. Profile of agricultural education and extension: challenges from a changing Brazilian rural milieu. Journal of International agricultural and Extension Education, Volume 11, Number 3, Fall 2004; Pp 13-21.

Lora, R.S. (no date).  An Overview of Agriculture and Agribusiness in Brazil. PowerPoint presentation. Office for International Relations, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply

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  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (October 2013)
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson


# MrRex.W.Manjabila 2016-10-07 09:18
I am a Zambian who has always admired how Brazil has evolved in Agricultural activities and how it has developed and benefited the people of Brazil. In Zambia the Government under the leadership of His Excellency the President Ediga Chagwa Lungu has spelled out a well articulated program of diversification from traditional dependence on Copper production to Agriculture. We have vast land and water bodie suitable for massive Agricultural development. I would therefore envisage a serious partnership with the Brazilian Government to support our diversification into Agriculture considering the strides Brazil has made in this sector.
I therefore propose partnership and help from the Brazilian Government to help our country develop its Agricultural potential that can feed the entire Southern,Central and Eastern Africa.
I am prepared to be fully involved in such a project if it can be initiated by the two Governments.
# Zambia - BrazilGFRAS Webmaster 2016-10-07 12:33
Dear Sir/Madam
Thanks for your interest and your suggestion. I forwarded your message to our contact person in Brazil.
GFRAS Secretariat
# self employedJean Claude Bona 2017-05-05 03:42
Hi,am from Cameroon but I live in USA please how can I have a help regarding any courses in Brazil regarding agriculture
I would like to have more help to came in Brazil and learn and go back to invest in Cameroon.
Best regards