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Journal article

Sustainable agricultural production: an investigation in Brazilian semi-arid livestock farms

22 Jul 2013

This paper investigates the environmental sustainability and competitiveness perceptions of small farmers in a region in northern Brazil. The main data collection instruments included a survey questionnaire and an analysis of the region’s strategic plan. In total, ninety-nine goat and sheep breeding farmers were surveyed. Data analysis methods included descriptive statistics, cluster analysis, and chi-squared tests. The main results relate to the impact of education, land size, and location on the farmers’ perceptions of competitiveness and environmental issues. Farmers with longer periods of education have higher perception scores about business competitiveness and environmental sustainability than those with less formal education. Farmers who are working larger land areas also have higher scores than those with smaller farms. Lastly, location can yield factors that impact on farmers’ perceptions. In our study, farmers located in Angicos and Lajes had higher perception scores than Pedro Avelino and Afonso Bezerra, despite the geographical proximity of these municipalities. On the other hand, three other profile variables did not impact on farmers’ perceptions, namely: family income, dairy production volume, and associative condition. The authors believe the results and insights can be extended to livestock farming in other developing countries and contribute generally to fostering effective sustainable development policies, mainly in the agribusiness sector.

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