IFAD and IPC-IG Launch New Series of Studies on Rural Poverty in Brazil




Brasilia, 24 May, 2016 – Between 2004 and 2013, the poverty and extreme poverty rates in Brazil fell sharply from 20% to 9% and from 7% to 4%, respectively. In regional terms, however, little has changed: poverty and extreme poverty continue to be higher in rural areas in the North and Northeast regions of the country. This is the conclusion of a new series of studies on rural poverty, focused on these two regions, by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA), launched today in Brasilia.

During the event, IFAD, the UN agency specialized in rural development, presented its new strategy for Brazil, focusing on expanding the promotion of projects in family agriculture in the Northeast.

The four studies on rural poverty are:

  • Poverty profile: the rural North and Northeast of Brazill” traces the poverty profiles for the rural areas of the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, presenting a definition, setting poverty and extreme poverty lines and offering an alternative to the official definitions of 'rural' and 'urban' provided by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística—IBGE) as a foundation for their analysis. It highlights that poverty and extreme poverty rates have declined expressively in the last ten years (2004-2013), falling from 20% to 9% of the population, and from 7% to 4% in the case of extreme poverty. However, two key factors present significant limitations to a discontinuity in this reduction: the labor market and social spending, notably on health care and welfare.
  • Public policies for rural development and combating poverty in rural areas” analyses 11 public policies for rural development and its impact on productivity and sustainability of small vulnerable farmers. Findings suggest that, although the productivity and sustainability of the most vulnerable smallholder farmers have not been substantially improved despite the many national policies in place, this should be attributed to a bias in rural development policies towards farmers who are already more established, and not at all to any intrinsically unsustainable aspect, or lack of potential, of smallholder and family farming. 
  • Climate change and impacts on family farming in the North and Northeast of Brazil" considers potential future climate change scenarios, focusing on identifying the main trends in terms of changes in temperature and precipitation for the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, particularly related impacts on family farming throughout the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic, and environmental. The study highlights that small-scale family farmers could play an important role in offsetting elements of the present environmental crisis, as well as those related to the threat of climate change, and that and increased awareness and participation of the stakeholders in this sector are fundamental. 

The studies consider the official poverty and extreme poverty lines set by the Federal Government in 2011 - families whose monthly household income per capita was up to BRL 140 are considered poor and those whose income was up to BRL 70 fall within the extreme poverty line.

Recently, IFAD and the IPC-IG released the "Atlas of extreme poverty in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil in 2010" which identifies the municipalities in those regions with the highest concentration of people living in extreme poverty conditions in 2010.