The recent country note published jointly by ASTI and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) points out that Brazil has one of the most well-developed and well-funded agricultural research systems in the developing world, ranking third in terms of public agricultural research and development (R&D) investments after China and India. After a period of stable or declining expenditure levels, total public agricultural R&D spending has increased substantially in recent years due to the Brazilian federal government’s renewed commitment to agricultural R&D. In 2006, Brazil spent 1.8 billion reais or 1.3 billion PPP (purchasing power parity) dollars on agricultural R&D (both in 2005 constant prices), and human resource capacity in public agricultural R&D totaled 5,376 full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers.
The organization of agricultural R&D in Brazil is complex, not only because of its size and the number of agencies involved, but also because of the dual role of the federal and state governments. As a result of the recent increase in government funding, Embrapa, the country’s main agricultural research agency, saw its spending levels increase by 28 percent during 2009. Embrapa’s total staff is expected to increase by more than 1,200. The agency has undergone restructuring to ensure that the country’s agricultural sector remains competitive. Modifications include enhancing human and institutional capacities, improving institutional structures, and strengthening the performance and evaluation system. Embrapa is also increasing its international collaborations, particularly in North America, Western Europe, and a large number of developing countries in South and Central America and Africa. Historically, Embrapa has been better funded than Brazil’s state government agencies, but the state centers are expected to benefit from increased federal support intended to revitalize Brazil’s agricultural research system and improve performance at the state level.