Brazil is in a bind. It has a wealth of natural resources and is among the most powerful industrial producers in the world, but the nation’s economic growth hinges on skilled workers it doesn’t have.
The country has grown fast, achieving in the past 20 years what “it took the United States to accomplish in 200 years,” marvels Ambassador Thomas Shannon, who recently finished his tour as Washington’s top envoy to Brasilia and now serves as a senior advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry.
The world’s sixth-largest economy, Brazil is a top exporter of farm products (sugar, coffee, oranges, beef, poultry, soy) and manufactured goods (from airplanes to vaccines), and it may join the ranks of the world’s biggest oil suppliers before long.
Brazil is on course to overtake the United States as the world’s top producer of biotech crops in the coming years, a leading promoter of farm biotechnology said Tuesday.
The United States currently holds the lead with 69 million hectares (170 million acres) under biocrop cultivation in 2011, ahead of Brazil with 30.3 million, Argentina with 23.7 million and India with 10.6 million, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) said.
But USAAA, a government-funded international body promoting the use of farm biotechnology, particularly in developing countries, said that for the third year in a row, Brazil was last year the engine of global biocrop growth, with 4.9 million hectares added, a rise of 20 percent from 2010.