Agriculture in developed countries
With the agricultural revolution of the 20th century ( green revolution ), rich countries began to employ less and less labor in rural activities. In this group of countries, agriculture is modern and uses advanced production resources, such as the intensive use of pesticides , fertilizers, mechanization, biotechnological resources and adequate methods of soil management. The result of this is high productivity and large agricultural production.
In rich countries, an agricultural policy is in force, which always seeks large margins of profits and benefits for its domestic production. Many of them produce and stock food waiting for the best time to commercialize it, thus obtaining greater profits.
But the most common action by developed countries is protectionism . Most products purchased from underdeveloped countries are surcharged when entering the market in those countries so that they do not compete with local products.
According to proexchangerates, there are several current examples involving Brazil, such as sugar in the European market, orange juice and biofuels in the US market. What happens is that the government of the rich countries subsidizes their rural producers through credits at very low interest rates. This practice means that these advantages offered are passed on to the final cost of agricultural products, making them cheaper so that competition becomes very difficult.
These agricultural policies have been discussed fervently at the WTO (World Trade Organization) , an organization based in Geneva (Switzerland), which takes care of international trade relations. One of its main tasks is to fight protectionism and encourage world trade.
Currently, most nations (especially in the rich capitalist world) defend neoliberal ideals (minimizing State action, privatizations and greater commercial freedom). However, when an underdeveloped country acquires conditions of competitiveness, it does not always succeed in its requests to break protectionist measures.
In summary , agricultural production in these countries is highly mechanized, has a low percentage of labor, has high productivity, has a large use of agricultural inputs and implements, practices commercial protectionism and is responsible for a large part of production, trade and consumption world food industry.
Agriculture in underdeveloped countries
There is a great contrast in agricultural production in poor countries. Some are still at a stage of poor agricultural development and their more modern areas produce on large plantations for the foreign market. Others, however, have modernized and substantially increased their production, such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and India.
In many of them, modern, well-developed structures coexist side by side with archaic and backward structures. The largest productions are made on large properties ( large estates ), highly mechanized and with great availability of capital, destined for export or for agro-industrial supply.
But most of these countries are based on agricultural activities, since they are poorly industrialized and the tertiary sector is poorly developed. Another important factor is that, in most cases, the agricultural policy adopted by their governments prioritizes the foreign market to the detriment of the population’s internal needs, because the domestic market is of low purchasing power and, therefore, less profitable.
The modernization of agriculture in some poor countries represented an accelerated rural exodus and a chaotic urbanization process, leading thousands of rural workers to marginalization due to lack of work and better living conditions.
In today’s world, goods are more valuable the higher the levels of technology used, which is why primary products, in general, tend to always have very low values. For this reason, the products marketed with little incorporation of technology are classified as co-modities . This forces countries dependent on the export of primary products to work hard to produce in large quantities.
The poor world has many problems to become competitive in agricultural production. Let’s look at a few:
- absence of product storage infrastructure (silage, warehouses, etc.);
- lack of an agricultural policy for the purchase of agricultural inputs and implements;
- technological dependence;
- use of inadequate, obsolete and very expensive means of transport;
- poorly modernized port system;
- deficient agricultural mechanization (weak or delayed).