In Brazil, agriculture is characterized by a high heterogeneity between farms. Under such reality, and based on previous experiences from other South American countries, the government decided to create a law, ATER Law (in 2010) and an organization, ANATER (in 2013). These initiatives aim to help farmers to have access to rural extension programmes, and also facilitate the access of farmers to commercial markets, trade of products and innovations related with animal and food production. Different other measures have been taken in order to diminish such heteregoeneity. Education programmes associated with farmers training are also tools used to improve incomes and farm productivity, as school dropout is high in rural zones. On the other hand, vocational education plays a big role, associated with responsible entities like NSRE (National Service of Rural Education) and Pronatec (National Program of Technical Education), through distant teaching and classroom lectures. Another option is application for rural credit, though this is still not so popular among small producers, it helps familiar agriculture with actions like buying their products to use in school meals.

Farmers in Brazil experience a lot of heterogeneity between small and big farms. Rural credit and extension associated with education is an opportunity granted to farmers from small farms and remote zones, helping them to regulate their productivity and increase profits. Education always brings benefits to everyone. Improving knowledge on the technical production process can fill the gaps and consequently significantly increase production. On the other hand, rural extension gives small farmers the opportunity to improve farm productivity and economic planning on their beef cattle farms.

Main challenges and bottlenecks in the implementation process include the high number of farmers only producing products for self-consumption and therefore having as underlying rational not profit maximization. Furthermore, these farms are often family farms, meaning that everyone works in the farm and if it is not profitable the number of poor people rise. The key success factors are increases in productivity and profits. These are possible due to the relation between introduction of technology and rustic farmers practices that allow for a good understanding from the farmers and facilitate the implementation of the process. In this implementation process it is important to: (i) contact with public organizations responsible for the support of rural extension; (ii) to develop education programmes to combat school dropout, and (iii) to have vocational education.

This procedure can also allow for an improvement in the quality of production with the introduction of technology.

Literature source: Rev. Econ. Sociol. Rural vol.53 no.1 Brasília Jan./Mar. 2015