African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6849

Full Length Research Paper

Public policy on the family farming sector in Brazil: Towards a model of sustainable agriculture

Flaviana Cavalcanti da Silva
  • Flaviana Cavalcanti da Silva
  • Department of Agronomy, Faculty of, Agrarian Science, Federal University of Mato Grosso – UFMT, Av. Alexandre Ferronato, 1200, St. Industrial, Sinop –MT, Brazil.
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Antonio Lázaro Sant’Ana
  • Antonio Lázaro Sant’Ana
  • Department of Phytotechnology, Food Technology and Socio Economy, Faculty of Engineering, Júlio de Mesquita Filho” São Paulo State University – UNESP, Av. Brazil, 56, Centro, Ilha Solteira – SP, Brazil.
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Ana Heloisa Maia
  • Ana Heloisa Maia
  • Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agrarian Sciences, Mato Grosso State University – UNEMAT, Av. Prof. Dr. Figueiro Varella, Cx postal 08, Nova Xavantina –MT, Brazil.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 13 June 2018
  •  Accepted: 30 July 2018
  •  Published: 16 August 2018


This study is based on a review of the literature that analyses the repercussions of the principal public policies established for the promotion of the family farming sector in Brazil. In this review, the processes that have contributed to the establishment of these policies are assessed critically, together with their mechanisms and the connections for the evaluation of their contributions to the promotion of sustainable production systems. The review was based on a wide range of sources, including books, journals, and other scientific papers, in particular those published by the principal authors in this field, in addition to the databases of Brazilian governmental institutions. The analysis focuses primarily on the National Program for Strengthening Family Farming (PRONAF), the baseline for all other policies, as well as the recently-established Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Policy (PNATER), and the government food purchasing programmes. Despite advances, a number of important limitations were found, in particular in relation to credit programmes and the Technical Assistance and Rural Extension, for the development of models of sustainable agriculture. Overall, many of the mechanisms found in the policies analyzed are oriented towards conventional production systems, which cause socio-environmental impacts that contradict the goals of sustainable rural development.

Key words: Agro-ecology, rural development, agricultural policy.