The Brazilian biodiesel program and family farmers: what is the social inclusion reality in the Brazilian savannah?

O programa brasileiro de biodiesel e os agricultores familiares: qual é a realidade da inclusão social no cerrado?

Biofuel production has been greatly discussed in Brazil. In 2004, some debates led the country to develop new policies and implement the National Biodiesel Use and Production Program (PNPB), with the intent to increase the share of renewable energy and foster rural development. In this context, the present study aims to assess the linkages between family farmers living standard and the adoption of oil seed activity in the Tocantins State, in a region of transition between the Cerrado (Brazilian savannah) and the Amazon rain forest. Ranges of socio-economic indicators were collected among smallholders who cultivate Jatropha curcas and Ricinus communis. A factor analysis based on living standard criteria and a non-linear probit model were applied to assess the inclusion of poor rural families in the biodiesel chain. Preliminary results point towards a positive relation between the family degree of deprivation and adoption of oil seed activity, for the Ricinus communis production, and a negative relation, for the Jatropha curcas production.

Brazilian biodiesel program; family farmers; social inclusion; Cerrado


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