Food is horizon of life, harmony and humanism.
is future, understanding
Beginning in the 1970s, Brazil undertook the largest sustainable tropical agricultural revolution in history. Alysson Paolinelli was the visionary who planned and led this great change.
With the tropical agricultural revolution Paolinelli guaranteed food self-sufficiency (until then Brazil was a net importer of basic foods) and a reduction in the cost of food as a share of household expenditure freeding up income for other consumption.
Thus, that historic turnaround also promoted sustained economic growth, social improvement, healthier living and advances in well-being for rural and urban populations. And it also made Brazil the world’s largest exporter of basic foods.
The sustainable tropical agricultural revolution goes on until now. It continues to expand and its best expression is the 230 million tons of grains produced in the country at the last harvest: about ten times more than it was able to produce when the Paolinelli’s revolution started.
Alysson Paolinelli – Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize 2021
Faces of Sustainable Tropical Agricultural Revolution
The young Secretary of Agriculture of Minas Gerais, a big state in Brazil. His work in this period was the birthplace of the sustainable tropical agricultural revolution.
As Minister of Agriculture he improve science and technology and created the governance structures that ensure the Revolution expansion even today.
He mobilized government, leaders and farmers from other regions to develop the Midwest and promote the productive transformation of the Cerrado.
As a congressman he fought to place in the 1988 brazilian Federal Constitution the pillars for a competitive, sustainable and social inclusion-oriented agriculture.
As a tireless leader, Paolinelli always expanded the scope and horizons of his revolution, engaging people and institutions in his dream.
Looking trhough the 21st century, he now leads the Tropicals Biomes Project connecting science organizations over the world to enable other new tropical agricultural revolutions.
10 facts of the Paolinelli’s revolution
1970s. Paolinelli set in motion an innovative sustainable tropical agricultural model, which initiated a profound transformation of Brazilian agriculture.
The starting point was a complete recovery of the infertile soils of Cerrado, a large tropical biome of savana with almost 2 million km².
This biological recovery of the biome allowed the production of valuable foods such as soy, corn, cotton, meat and milk in Brazil midwest.
Since then, Brazil's agricultural productivity rates performed with a Nonstop growth. From 1975 to 2020, production advanced by 384% and productivity by 500%.
To do this Paolinelli put science in the first place. He stimulated research with EMBRAPA and universities. He created EMBRATER for technological diffusion. Knowledge was the keyword.
Food self-sufficiency came to Brazil in the 1980s. The country also became a major food exporter, with positive trade balance of US$ 75 millions last year.
In addition to food self-sufficiency the Paolinelli’s revolution improve Human Development Index (HDI) of agriculture-based municipalities of the Cerrado in 73% from 1991 to 2010.
The sustainable tropical agricultural revolution was brazilian, but it is also viable for other developing countries in the tropical belt.
“Science and research need to be expanded to other tropical biomes, reproducing achievements such as those of the Brazilian Cerrado,” emphasizes Paolinelli.
“It is necessary to have a clear vision of the biomes to set the conditions that allows to produce well without degrading natural resources,” adds the ex-Minister.