An Inside View of Matopiba
This brochure is a compilation of data about a specific area of the Brazilian Cerrado in the states of MAranhão, TOcantins, PIauí and BAhia, or MATOPIBA. The MATOPIBA region is Brazil’s current agricultural frontier. In recent years, its native vegetation has been in large part cleared for soybean and livestock farming. Brazil’s Forest Code legally allows for clearing up to 80 percent of areas covered by rural properties in the Cerrado, so there is a legal shield for continued and dramatic conversion of native habitat for agriculture.
Several factors may accelerate the current trend of clearing MATOPIBA lands in 2017 and the coming years: an increase in rainfall after 5 years of drought (resulting in increasing profits and returns for producers); improvements in the Brazilian economic situation; new regulations that permit land purchases by foreigners; an increase in the competitiveness of Brazilian soy; and possible changes in the licensing regime for livestock farming.
MATOPIBA is currently the target of intense property speculation. Recent studies about key municipalities in this region indicate an average price increase of about 2,000 percent between Cerrado lands in 2005 and cleared lands in 2016. Our aim is to foster intersectoral dialogues about the future of MATOPIBA region to facilitate the consideration of not only economic but also social and environmental factors.
We here present key social, economic and agricultural data painting a picture of current threats and opportunities for the region. We seeks to show that soy and beef commodities may be produced in MATOPIBA without destroying the Cerrado’s uniquely biodiverse habitats and ecosystems.