Agriculture in developed countries
With the agricultural revolution of the twentieth century ( green revolution ), the rich countries started to employ less and less labor in the rural activities. In this set of countries, agriculture is modern and uses advanced production resources, such as the intensive use of agrochemicals , fertilizers, mechanization, biotechnological resources and adequate methods of soil management. The result is high productivity and great agricultural production.
In rich countries there is an agricultural policy that always seeks large profit margins and benefits for its domestic production. Many of them produce and store food waiting for the best time to market them, thus making greater profits.
But the most common action of developed countries is protectionism . Most products purchased from underdeveloped countries are overtaxed by entering the market of these countries so that they do not compete with local products.
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 governments of the rich countries subsidize their rural producers through loans at very low interest rates. This practice makes these advantages offered to be passed on to the final cost of agricultural goods, cheapening them in such a way that competition becomes very difficult.
These agricultural policies have been fervently discussed at the WTO (World Trade Organization) , which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, which deals with international trade relations. One of its main tasks is to combat protectionism and encourage world trade.
Today, most nations (especially the rich capitalist world) defend neo-liberal ideals (minimization of state action, privatization, and greater commercial freedom). However, when some underdeveloped country acquires conditions of competitiveness, it does not always succeed in its requests for a breach of protectionist measures.
In short , the agricultural production of these countries is highly mechanized, has a low percentage of labor, has high productivity, has great use of inputs and agricultural implements, practices trade protectionism and is responsible for much of the production, trade and consumption of food.
Agriculture in underdeveloped countries
There is a great contrast in the agricultural production of poor countries. Some are still in a stage of weak agrarian development and their more modern areas produce in large plantations for the foreign market. Others, however, modernized and substantially increased their production, as is the case of 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 in large estates ( latifundios ), highly mechanized and with great availability of capital, destined to export or to agroindustrial supply.
But most of these countries are based on economic agriculture and livestock, since they are poorly industrialized and the tertiary sector is underdeveloped. Another important factor is that, most of the times, the agricultural policy adopted by its governments prioritizes the external market to the detriment of the internal needs of the population, 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 for lack of work and better living conditions.
In today’s world, goods are more valuable the higher the levels of technology employed, so 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 commodities . This forces countries dependent on the export of primary products to work hard to produce in large quantities.
The poor world presents many problems in order to become competitive in agricultural production. Let’s look at some:
- lack of storage infrastructure for the products (silage, warehouses, etc.);
- lack of an agricultural policy for the acquisition of inputs and agricultural implements;
- technological dependence;
- use of inadequate, obsolete and very expensive means of transport;
- modernized port system;
- poor agricultural mechanization (weak or backward).