Dynamics of land use and agricultural practices on the uplands and adjacent flood plain in the Lower Amazon


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Dynamics of land use and agricultural practices on the uplands and adjacent flood plain in the Lower Amazon
Physical Description:
xi, 173 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Swales, Susan E
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Subjects / Keywords:
Agriculture -- Amazon River Region   ( lcsh )
Land use -- Amazon River Region   ( lcsh )
Uplands -- Amazon River Region   ( lcsh )
Floodplains -- Amazon River Region   ( lcsh )
Agriculture   ( fast )
Floodplains   ( fast )
Land use   ( fast )
Uplands   ( fast )
Amazon River Region   ( fast )
Geography thesis, Ph.D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Geography -- UF   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1999.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 166-172).
Additional Physical Form:
Also available online.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Susan E. Swales.
General Note:
General Note:

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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aleph - 030368305
oclc - 41937021
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Full Text






This research was supported by a Tinker Foundation Fellowship through the

Center for Latin American Studies, Russell Corporation Scholarship and a University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship. Government Agencies in Brazil played a supportive role throughout the duration of the research including Museu Geoldi, EMPRAPA, EMATER, and the Municipio de Monte Alegre.

A great number of people in Brazil also encouraged and supported my research efforts: Nelsi Sadek, Adilson Serrdo, Louis Forline, Mario Ishiguro, Zenaldo Couthino, Bia and Rui Marcedo, Seta and Kishi. Also I am indebted to all of the farmers who allowed me to stay with their families and partake in their lives, and to all of the farmers who took time out of their day to answer my questions about their farming practices.

I would like to thank my committee members for their guidance, advise, and support: my chair, Dr. Nigel Smith, Dr. Cdsar Caviedes, Dr. Tim Fik, Dr. Mickie Swisher, and Dr. P. K. Nair.



ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS ............................................... ii

LIST OF TABLES ..................................................... vi

LIST OF FIGURES ..................................................... ix

A B STR A CT .......................................................... xi


I INTRODUCTION ................................................. I

O verview ........................................................ I
Research Objectives ............................................... 5
H ypothesis ....................................................... 6
M ethodology ..................................................... 7
Sam pling Procedures ............................................. 16
A nalysis of Surveys ............................................... 18
Presentation of Research ........................................... 19


Land Use Patterns and Agricultural Intensification of Distance and
Accessibility to M arket ........................................... 20
Agricultural Intensification as a Result of Population Pressures ............. 24
Agricultural Intensification and Farmer Risk Management Strategies ........ 26 Agricultural Intensification and Government Policies .................... 31
Theoretical Implications of Agricultural Intensification on the Uplands and
Floodplains .................................................... 33



A m azonia ...................................................... 34
M onte A legre, Pard ............................................... 40
History of M onte Alegre ..................................... 42
The Government and Infrastructure in Monte Alegre ............... 46
Transportation ............................................. 47
Education .............. 51
Non-governmental Organizations ............................. 52
Agricultural Program s ...................................... 54
Villages Visited on the Uplands ..................................... 57
Sector 15 ................................................. 57
Sector 13 ................................................. 58
M ulata ................................................... 58
L im do ................................................... 59
T res B ocas ................................................ 60
Terra Preta ................................................ 60
Jusaratuia ................................................. 6 1
Villages Visited on the Flood plains .................................. 61
P iapo .................................................... 62
Santa R ita ................................................ 62
C urierus .................................................. 64
P ariqo .................................................... 64
Sapucaia ................................................. 65

4 LAND USE DYNAMICS ON THE UPLANDS ........................ 67

Farmsteads in the Uplands ......................................... 67
Farmers Interactions with the Outside World ..................... 80
Strategies for Subsistence and Income Generation ................. 82
Agricultural Intensification ......................................... 85
Driving Forces Behind Land Use and Agricultural Practices ............... 86
Distance as a Factor in Land Use and Agricultural Practices ............... 91
Distance as It Relates to Land Use Patterns and Agricultural Intensification . 96

5 LAND USE DYNAMICS ON THE FLOOD PLAINS .................. 100

Households on the Flood Plains .................................... 100
Fanner Interactions with the Outside World ..................... 109
Strategies for Subsistence and Income Generation ................ III
Agricultural Intensification ........................................ 114
Driving Forces Behind Land Use and Agricultural Practices .............. 116
Distance as a Factor in Land Use and Agricultural Practices .............. 120


Distance as It Relates to Land Use Patterns and Agricultural
Intensification ............................................ 123


Household Characteristics ........................................ 126
Distance as a Factor in Land Use and Agriculture ...................... 131
Driving Forces in Agricultural Practices and Land Use .................. 135

Theoretical Im plications .......................................... 141
Application Im plications .......................................... 143
M ethodological Implications ....................................... 145
Recommendations for Future Research ............................... 146







LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................... 166

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................ 173



Table Ra,.e

1.1 Villages on the flood plains with number of households sampled ........... 15

1.2 Villages on the Uplands with number of households sampled .............. 16

3.1 Vendors in M onte Alegre .......................................... 48

4.1 Characteristics of the households .................................... 69

4.2 Crops commonly found in Monte Alegre ........................... 74-75

4.3 Land devoted to perennial crops ..................................... 76

4.4 Fanner interactions with the marketplace .............................. 81

4.5 Crops that are grown and sold ....................................... 83

4.6 Crops grown but not sold .......................................... 84

4.7 Land use intensity and intensification ................................. 87

4.8 Farmer responses regarding problems faced by farmers ................... 88

4.9 Farmer responses to importance of factors in crop selection ............... 89

4.10 Farmers perceptions on factors that would contribute to a better
standard of living ............................................... 89

4.11 Percentages of responses to the question regarding problems faced by farmers 90 4.12 Percentages of responses regarding crop selection ....................... 90

4.13 Percentages of responses regarding standard of living .................... 90


Table vage

4.14 Characteristics of households grouped by distance ...................... 93

4.15 Percentages of farmers selling crops based on distance ................... 94

4.16 Agricultural intensification indices by distance ......................... 95

5.1 Characteristics of the households ................................... 102

5.2 Number of crops grown in each household ........................... 107

5.3 Agricultural crops on the flood plains ................................ 108

5.4 Fanner interactions with the marketplace ............................. 110

5.5 Agricultural produce grown and sold by flood plain farmers .............. 114

5.6 Land use intensity and agricultural intensification ...................... 115

5.7 Responses to survey regarding problems faced by farmers ................ 117

5.8 Responses to the importance of variables in crop selection ............... 118

5.9 Farmer perceptions on factors that would contribute to a better
standard of living .............................................. 118

5.10 Responses to problems faced by farmers by category .................... 119

5.11 Response to factors in crop selection by category ...................... 119

5.12 Response to factors required to raise standard of living by category ........ 119 5.13 Flood plain household characteristic by distance ....................... 121

5.14 Crops sold by flood plain residents .................................. 122

5.15 Agricultural intensification index based on distance .................... 123

6.1 Characteristics of households in the uplands and flood plains ............. 128

6.2 Crops that are grown and sold on the uplands and flood plains, in percent ... 129


Table VM,e

6.3 Characteristics of households based on distance to market ............... 132

6.4 Agricultural intensification indices .................................. 134

6.5 Upland and flood plain responses to survey regarding problems faced
by farm ers .................................................... 136

6.6 Categories of problems faced by farmers in the uplands and flood plains .... 137

6.7 Responses to the importance of factors in crop selection on uplands
and flood plains ................................................ 138

6.8 Factors in crop selection on uplands and flood plains ................... 139

6.9 Factors believed to contribute to a better standard of living ............... 140



Figure Vae

1.1 Brazilian Am azon Basin ............................................ 2

1.2 The major rivers of the Amazon Basin ................................ 10

1.3 Monte Alegre and surrounding municipalities .......................... 11

1.4 Villages visited in the municipality of Monte Alegre ..................... 17

3.1 Monthly fluctuation in precipitation in Monte Alegre, PA ................. 38

3.2 Annual fluctuation in precipitation in Monte Alegre, PA .................. 38

3.3 Cross-sectional view of the Amazon Flood plain ........................ 39

3.4 Population growth in Monte Alegre from the mid- 1900s .................. 44

3.5 Fruit stands line the streets of the cidade alto in Monte Alegre, PA .......... 49

4.1 Villages visited in the uplands of Monte Alegre by distance ............... 68

4.2 Upland farmer's house with thatched roof surrounded by manioc ........... 70

4.3 Upland field intercropped with beans and maize with primary forest borders . 77 4.4 Casa da. farina surrounded by a home garden .......................... 79

5.1 Villages visited on the flood plains of Monte Alegre by distance .......... 101

5.2 Typical house on stilts on the flood plains during the dry season ........... 105

5.3 Cleared field on the flood plains with native fruit tree spared from the ax .... 106 5.4 Watermelons delivered from flood plains during the peak harvest .......... 112
season in December



5.5 Village on the restinga in Monte Alegre, PA during high water ...........113


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


Susan E. Sales

May, 1999

Chairperson: Nigel J. H. Smith Major Department: Geography

A comparison of agriculture and land use change on the flood plains and adjacent uplands in the Lower Amazon illustrates similarities and differences between these two dynamic environments. Farmers in both environments are motivated by market forces when they select crops, however, these farmers face different problems with their agricultural practices. The upland farmers face greater problems with market access and the value of their agricultural products while the flood plain farmers have greater problems with environmental constraints. Agricultural intensification is underway in both environments and is driven by market access, capital availability, and the quality of the soils available for fanning.




Amazonia encompasses approximately two-thirds of South America (Figure 1. 1). The Amazon Basin is a widely misunderstood environment, believed by many to be homogenous in nature with little potential for development. It is in fact a heterogeneous region with two major environments: the uplands and the flood plains. The Amazon is estimated to hold one half of all species on the planet (Wilson, 1992). This great biodiversity which has hardly been described, is in peril of being lost due to deforestation of the uplands and degradation of the flood plain (Hecht and Cockburn, 1989; Anderson, 1990; Goulding, 1993). The Amazon is also one of the largest carbon sinks in the world and the loss of its forests may therefore contribute to global climate change (Feamside, 1985).

Alarm over deforestation in the Amazon Basin was first sounded in the 1970s as Brazil began its ambitious colonization projects. Colonization resulted from the need to effect land reform, to provide a safety valve for the drought stricken and relatively densely settled Northeast, and to place a stamp of sovereignty on the natural resources contained in the Basin (Mahar, 1979; Smith, 1982; Schmink and Wood, 1992).









F .A

Figure 1. 1 South America


Colonization took three forms: spontaneous, government-directed and privately funded (Almeida, 1992). The best known and most studied government-directed colonization scheme is along the Transamazon Highway (Moran, 198 1; Smith, 1982; Smith, 198 1ib; Fearnside, 1986). Colonists migrated from the South and the Northeast regions of Brazil, and their success in the colonies depended on the wealth they brought with them, their entrepreneurial ability, and agricultural experience (Moran, 198 1; Almeida, 1992).

Knowledge about the Basin as a whole varies. We have considerable knowledge about the Amazonian upland ecosystems and agricultural practices. Colonists in upland areas practice slash and burn agriculture and commonly grow manioc, maize, beans and rice. They also incorporate perennial crops such as coffee, cacao and citrus into their farming systems. Use of the flood plains has been largely overlooked, perhaps because of the imperative to investigate the widespread deforestation connected with the upland environment. Many researchers have noted the potential of the flood plain ecosystem for agricultural production and have recommended additional research be conducted (Sternberg, 1975; Roosevelt, 1992; Goulding et al., 1996; Srivastava et al., 1996).

The Amazon River spills over its banks each year for four to six months, flooding forests and refreshing the lakes adjacent to the river. When the river retreats during the dry season, flood plain residents farm the sediment-laden soils. The agricultural season on the flood plain is short and farmers face the risk of crop loss if the river rises early. As a result, short season crops are grown on the flood plain including tomatoes, melons, beans and rice. Herds of cattle are brought from the uplands to graze on the flood plain


grasses during low water, and are then herded back to the uplands when the river rises. The high restingas, or natural levees, along the main channel rarely flood and are often farmed throughout the year, including perennial crops such as cocao, and citrus.

Full time residents of the flood plain practice a mixed livelihood of fishing and agriculture. Farming supplements fishermen's incomes during low water, unfortunately, some areas have been over-fished. Consequently, fishing of economically important species is prohibited in many Amazonian lakes during the breeding season in January and February. Expanding urban areas such as Bel6m, Manaus and Santar6m require greater supplies of food for their residents, adding impetus to deforestation by ranchers and small farmers on the uplands. Large ice boats ply the river system buying fish and freezing them for long distance transport to the urban centers of Bel6m and Manaus (McGrath et al., 1993). The seasonally flooded forests are being cut and devoted to pasture for cattle during the dry season.

Factors driving intensification and diversification of land use need to be identified and explained in order to provide a clearer picture of the dynamic nature of agriculture and land use in the Amazonian environment. Traditional land use patterns are changing as land holdings are divided and agriculture becomes more commercially oriented. Intensification and diversification of agriculture may be one way to slow or arrest deforestation and provide a sustainable basis to fanning. If the needs of the farmer can be met both socially (food within the house) and economically (income generation), pressure on forests should subside. Intensification includes intercropping annual crops, using additional labor and chemical inputs to increase productivity per unit area, and


agroforestry. By diversifying crop types through planting perennials, farmers reduce risks from environmental catastrophes such as disease, pests and drought. If a farmer produces just one crop, for instance rice, which is destroyed by pests, the farmer has lost his season's income. On the other hand, a farmer who is producing rice and oranges and papaya may still gain income from the oranges and papaya when the rice is destroyed. Diversification is protection against the loss of a single crop. Diversification also reduces economic uncertainties such as high transport cost and low market value. Agroforestry could therefore play an important role in diversification and intensification (Raintree and Warner, 1986; Smith, 1996).

Research Objectives

The objectives of the research are the following:

1 To examine selected variables that affect agriculture on the flood plains and
uplands including, economic, environmental and social forces, and to define the
role of these variables in farmers' decisions in selecting crop types and inputs into
their agroecosystems in each environment.

2. To determine if distance from the market plays a role in land use decisions and
agricultural practices.

3. To examine land use and agricultural practices on the flood plains and uplands
and to define similarities and differences between the two environments.

4. To elucidate the factors that drive agricultural intensification and the role of
agroforestry systems in intensification.



Agricultural development and associated land use issues including the causes of agricultural intensification have been debated through the twentieth century. Boserup (1965) proposed that decreased land availability and increased labor availability are the driving mechanisms of intensification. These factors 'push' farmers into intensifying their agriculture in order to increase their productivity. Von ThOnen (1966) examined the economic character of agriculture and the relation of the distance to market in agricultural development. The market is the 'pull' factor that leads farmers to intensify their agriculture. As economic agents, farmers try to maximize their outputs in relation to their inputs, and gain the greatest benefits in the most sound economic manner.

This study combines both the 'push' and 'pull' factors into one theoretical

framework. Additionally, this study includes a third factor, the biophysical environment, which has a role in agricultural intensification. Farmers may be constrained in their ability to intensify because of the nature of their natural resource base and capital availability. Small farmers with little income and nutrient poor soils will not be able intensify their agriculture.

Intensification in the Amazon Basin may discourage farmers from continuing to clear forests for new agricultural land, thereby reducing the deforestation rate. We need to understand the push and pull factors that contribute to intensification to formulate government policies and other programs that encourage intensification rather than extensification. Therefore, the hypothesis to be tested in this study is:


Intensification will be a function of land use intensity, market access, labor
availability, and environmental setting.

Intensification is the dependent variable in the research and is defined as 1) chemical use, 2) inter-cropping, 3) agroforestry, 4) mechanization, and 5) land use intensity. Land use intensity is defined as the area of land under agricultural production divided by the amount of land available to an individual farmer for use that is of adequate agricultural quality for the crops selected by the farmer. Market access is defined as the 1) ability to get to market, 2) adequate return or profitability for crops, 3) time to get to market, and 4) mode and cost of transportation. Labor availability is defined as the amount of labor available to the farm family regardless of the source of labor.


To test this hypothesis, this research compares the importance of the dependent variables in explaining agricultural intensification in two adjacent environments. It examines whether the same process of intensification and the same relationships of intensification to distance to markets, land and labor availability occur in both environments. Field work was conducted in Monte Alegre, Brazil, from 1995 through 1998 (Figures 1.2 and 1.3), and data were gathered from both upland and flood plain farmers.

Three survey instruments were developed and used in interviews with small

farmers. The first instrument was used to obtain demographic data on each household, the


second to obtain data on the types of crops each farmer plants, and the third instrument was designed to obtain information regarding factors influencing agricultural practices and land use. The survey instruments were pilot tested and revised in the municipality of Monte Alegre in June 1996. The instruments are included in Appendix A. The instruments were submitted to the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (UFIRB) and were approved as posing minimal risk to the human subject participants on November 21, 1996 (#96.520), and renewed in 1997 (Appendix B).

Formal interviews were conducted at the farm household with individual farmers. Informal discussions were held with groups of farmers in six communities to obtain farmers' impressions regarding the government programs available to them and the limitations they face. Additionally, observational visits were made to farmers' fields to corroborate the farmers' responses to the survey questions. The following information was included in the surveys: area in production, types of crops in each field, combinations of crops planted, farmers' perception or knowledge of soil type, agroforestry system components, tenure, title, laborers working in the fields, and market information. In addition to interviews at the household, interviews were held with farmers at meetings sponsored by the Federal extension agency EMATER (Empresa de AssiWncia Tinica e Extensdo Rural). Only the interviews regarding factors influencing agricultural practices were conducted at these meetings.

The instrument regarding factors influencing agricultural practices has three parts. The first part identifies problems faced by farmers, the second examines the factors in farmers' crop selection, and the third identifies factors that would improve their standard


of living. The questions in this instrument were categorized into three types of driving factors: environmental (E), social (S), and economic (C). For example, the question posed "How much of a problem is there with pests?" is categorized as an environmental factor. The question posed "How much of a problem is there with disease/illness in your family?" is categorized as a social factor. Farmers were asked to rank each problem as never a problem, sometimes a problem, usually a problem, or always a problem. For analysis, the survey information was converted from the four point scale into a three point scale of low, medium and high due to farmers' responses. Farmers did not distinguish between "usually a problem" and "always a problem". The converted categories are low is never a problem, medium is sometimes a problem, and high is usually or always a problem.

Farmers were also asked if certain factors were important in their decisions when they selected the types of crops they grew. This part of the survey included questions that were categorized into two groups, environmental (E) and economic (C). For example, the question "How important is the quality of seeds?" is an environmental factor. The question "How important is it that you use the produce in the home?" is an economic factor.

Specific questions were included in the instrument on demographics and agricultural practices to elicit information regarding the dependent and each of the independent variables (Stoddard, 1982; Bernard, 1994). These questions permit the formulation of conclusions regarding the degree to which each of the independent


c E


E npul


0 0


0 o
1 0

a cd

N ca


0 c


Mrnnazo~y of-er

Altats Bider

Figure1.3 Mote Alereandsurrouding m ncialte


variables is associated with intensification of agricultural production. An index of agricultural intensification was developed to assess the degree of intensification. A numerical value was determined from the interview data for each independent variable. Land use intensity, for example, is calculated by dividing the area in agricultural production by the area of land available for agriculture for each farmer. For other variables where the responses were 'yes' or 'no' such as employment off the farm, an additional index value was used. The intensification index is determined by adding the values of the following independent variables and dividing by the number of variables included to give a number less than one.

I Labor: The number of people working in the fields divided by the number
of people in the household provides a percent value used in the
calculation. A value of more than one indicates that hired labor is being

2. Duration of Stay: The number of years a farmer has lived on the same
piece of land. These were divided into classes and assigned an index
number. The classes are: 0 5 years = 0.1
6 10 years = 0.3
11 20 years = 0.5
Over 20 years = 0.8

3. Distance to market: Distance to market is expressed in hours. These were
divided into classes and assigned an index value. The classes are:
0 2 hours = 0.8
2.1 3.9 hours = 0.5
4 hours or greater = 0. 1

4. Chemical use: The index value assigned to a positive response in the use
of chemical inputs is 0.8.

5. Sale of agricultural produce: The index value assigned to a positive
response on the sale of agricultural products is 0.5.


6. Percent of agricultural produce used outside the house: The percent of
produce sold is used as the value.

7. Land use intensity: Land use intensity is determined by dividing the
amount of land under cultivation by the amount of land owned by the

8. Work outside of agriculture: The index value assigned for a household
member with employment off the farm is 0.3.

9. Crop diversity: The index values are based upon the number of different
crops cultivated on the farm: 0 5 crops = 0. 1
6 10 crops = 0.3
11 15 crops = 0.4
16 20 crops = 0.5
Over 20 crops = 0.8

The resulting index value is an indicator of agricultural intensification. The index is a qualitative based on quantitative data. This generalized model is used to explore the factors believed to contribute to agricultural intensification because data regarding inputs and out puts into these agricultural systems is difficult if not impossible to obtain. Subjective index values are assigned to variables such as whether or not a farmer uses chemicals because a truly quantitative information is difficult to impossible to obtain. An accurate quantitative value for chemical use would have to based on the toxicity level of the chemical used and the quantity of each of the various constituents used. The index for crop diversity is based on the number of species present on the farm but does not account for the density of each species, nor does it account for the management needs of the various crops.

The agricultural intensification indices are first analyzed by region and then by distance from the market. Finally, a comparison of the uplands and flood plains is


performed to determine similarities and differences between the two regions.

In the 1995 census of Monte Alegre, the total population of the municipality is recorded as 65,802 individuals and 15,759 households: 10,618 residents are urban and the remaining 5,360 are rural. Populated rural areas are primarily used for agriculture and ranching. The uplands have 4,338 households and the flood plains 1,022. These two values are the respective population sizes for the two subregions. Many of the rural villages have central business districts and some residents engage in non-agricultural pursuits such as teaching, health care, and government employees including postal and health workers. Twenty-five percent is believed to be a reasonable percentage of households not engaged in agricultural production. Therefore, the total population sizes were reduced by 25% to reflect the non-farm households within each subregion. The resulting agricultural populations were 3,254 for the uplands and 752 for the flood plain. A total of 70 farmers were interviewed, 37 on the uplands and 33 on the flood plains. Sample sizes were selected to achieve a 95% accuracy level and a 95% confidence level for statistical analysis (Portier, 1983). In the field it was determined that some villages were not engaged in crop production (i.e., cattle only) and they were eliminated as potential respondents.

Sampling of clusters of individuals was performed to gain representative samples from the various communities based upon distance and time involved in transportation from the city of Monte Alegre (Hessler, 1992). Census data were used to determine sample size in each cluster (Table 1. 1, and 1.2). The number of households surveyed in each village is calculated by taking the approximate proportion of households in each


cluster to the total number of households available in the population. A map of the communities sampled is presented in Figure 1.4. Time involved in transport to the city is the best indicator of distance since the method of transport differs for individuals. Some flood plain residents travel to the city in johnny boats with ten-horsepower motors while others have large boats with fifty-horsepower motors. Some upland residents own their own vehicles while others use the local bus transport. Additionally, during the rainy season the roads become difficult to travel and time spent in transport is increased. Topographic maps produced by the Brazilian government were used to locate the villages. However, the maps contained villages that were not in the government census data, and the census data contained information for villages that did not appear on the maps.

Distance and time traveled are categorized in the following manner: close sites are within an hour of the city, medium sites are between two and three hours of the city, and far sites are more than three hours from the city. The selection of the villages was based on distance, the community and farmer's willingness to participate in the survey, and the availability of transport to the communities. Table 1. 1 Villages on the flood plains with number of households sa pled Close Medium Far

Total Households 186 43 74

Villages and number of houses Pariqo 130 Curiertis 43 Piapo 24 Sapucaia 56 Santa Rita 50

Number of households sampled 18 10 5


Table 1.2 Villages on the Uplands with number of households ssampIl d Close Medium Far

Total households 299 292 60

Villages and number of Terra Preta 36 Limdo 86 Sector 15 30
Tres Bocas 36 Mulata 132 Sector 13 30 Jusaratuia 30

Number of households 16 11 9
sampled I I

Sampling Procedures

Selection of households to be surveyed was based on spatial features of the

village. Most villages are built in a straight line with even spacing between houses. On the flood plain, the space between houses is a few meters, while on the uplands the distance maybe a few kilometers. Due to the distance between houses on the uplands, and the practicality of surveying, the surveys were conducted in households located within five kilometers of a central point of the village. On the flood plain, a systematic sampling procedure with a randomly determined starting point was used. A number between one and five was picked before the village was entered. This number was used to determine the spacing between the houses selected; for instance, if three was picked then the third house from the center of the village was the first house to be interviewed, after that each third house was selected. If the head of the household was not home or unwilling to participate, the house directly to east was selected as a replacement (Romesburg, 1990; Hessler, 1992).



Sector 15
Mulata Sector 13 C-. sapucla

Tres Boca Terro Preta

Monte Alegre

0 10
Kilometers Seasonal flood plains

Figure 1.4 Villages visited in the municipality of Monte Alegre


Analysis of the Surveys

The surveys are analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Statistical analysis of the data includes the Student's t test of significance to determine if there are differences between means in selected variables. Chi-square tests are performed to determine if the responses to ranked questions occurred significantly within groups. Chisquare indicates, for example, if the environmental factors are being considered by farmers when they select their crops. Statistical analyses are used to help formulate a general qualitative model of intensification which explores the importance of the nine independent variables selected for study in explaining intensification. It also helps to examine their relative importance across different biophysical settings.

The following formulas are used in this study:

Student's t-test: t =R- 4

Chi-square test: X2 =_":E, Oj

To obtain the Oi in the chi-square, responses were totaled into the categories of

environmental, social, and economic in the ranges of low, medium, and high. The Ej was calculated by

Ei = Total Row Total Column
Total Column


Significant X2 was determined by finding the degrees of freedom (R-1)(C-1) for each chi-square test, then at a = 95%, the significant X2 number was found in chi-square tables (Earickson and Harlin, 1994). For 3 x 3 tables, df = 4, so X2 at (df 4, 0.95) is 9.49; and the 2 x 2 table, X2 at (df 2, 0.95) is 5.99.

Chi-square tests were performed on the three separate questions posed in the survey and then combined for an examination of total responses:

1. What are the greatest problems faced by the farmers?
2. What factors are most important in a farmer's selection of crops?
3. What goods or services would be most desirable to raise the standard of living.

Presentation of the Research

The results of the research are presented in the following five chapters, and the concluding chapter summarizes the contribution of this work to theory and application.


This study of land use dynamics seeks to identify the driving forces behind agricultural intensification. Agricultural intensification is a result of many complex factors including distance and accessibility to market, population pressures, farmer risk management strategies, and government policies. Generally recognized constraints to intensification are lack of labor, inadequate infrastructure, low profit margins, and the biophysical setting (Eden, 1990). Land use patterns, crop selection, rates of deforestation, and the associated socioeconomic considerations of markets and food security also affect agricultural intensification and agricultural change. In order to fully explore the issue of agricultural intensification, it is necessary to review the information available on the various driving forces and theories behind land use change and agricultural dynamics.

Land Use Patterns and Agricultural Intensification of Distance and Accessibility to Market

Variables such as distance to market, labor availability, and land availability play a role in why farmers select particular crops. Von ThOnen (1966) developed a theory



regarding the zonation of agriculture and the placement of fields in relation to the home and market fieryr, 1986; Tarrant, 1974). Von Thiinen studied his farm to determine 'ideal cropping' patterns, and found that transport and market values contributed to a zonation of agricultural patterns based upon distance from the market because transportation to the market contributes to the cost of the agricultural product. Additionally, the ability of the farmer to get crops to market in saleable condition will directly effect the types of crops grown. A pull is exerted by the nearest market and 'nodes' develop in land use patterns. Farmers living the greatest distance from the market with poor transportation will develop very different agroecosystems than those who are closer to markets with frequent transportation opportunities (Von ThUnen, 1966). Extensive land use systems prevail at greater distances from the market, while more intensive systems are located closer to market. Additionally, there is a tendency of farmers located close to markets to grow more valuable and highly perishable agricultural products, such as fruits and vegetables. However, each crop has its own growth requirements, and diets are culturally dictated, both directly affect the types of crops produced in an area. Therefore, specific cropping patterns cannot be predicted; even though land use patterns based upon distance from the market can be predicted from Von Thilnen's theory.

Classic Von ThUrienian zonation of crops based upon distance to market have

been identified throughout the world. In England, highly perishable crops such as lettuce, celery, and carrots, are grown intensively on small plots within an hour of the market. Less intensive agricultural systems are located further from the market which include the


less perishable and bulkier products such as potatoes and turnips (Chisholm, 1970). Japanese farmers in Tome Aqu, Brazil, are located close to the urban markets of Bel~m and produce perishable vegetables, fruits and chickens. Japanese farmers located further away from Bel~m produce low bulk products that can withstand rough road transport such as black pepper, palm oil and rubber (Uhl and Subler, 1988; Subler and Uhl, 1990). In the Amazon Basin, flood plain farmers near major urban centers produce crops of high value in an intensive manner (Denevan, 1984; Padoch et al., 1985; Hiraoka, 1986; Brondizio et al., 1994; Toniolo and Uhl, 1995). The fruit of the aqai palm is a delicacy in Brazil, but is highly perishable, bulky, and must be transported to market quickly. A productive industry of aqai fruit has arisen in the Amazonian estuary close to Be1~m and Macapd. The industry thrives due to easy access to those cities and the high value of the crop (Brondizio et al., 1994). Flood plain farmers near Iquitos, Peru, produce high value fruits and vegetables for that urban market (Hiraoka, 1986). Access to the urban center directly affected the crops that farmers incorporate into their agroecosystems (Hiraoka, 1986). The market therefore appears to play a major role in the choice of crops grown on the flood plains of the Amazon Basin (Hammond et al., 1995).

Remote areas are not cut off from the national or international economy and political systems (Turner and Brush, 1987). Links with the outside world have strong influences on these farmers and impel agricultural change. The decision-making model on the frontier where land is abundant and labor scarce is much different from areas that have been inhabited for many years and therefore, population pressure does not explain destructive land use patterns on the frontier. In the land-abundant frontier, such as that


found in the Amazon Basin, it is more rational to continue clearing new lands than to intensify labor investments on already degraded land areas. Therefore degradation to the natural resource base is inevitable (Pinch6n, 1996).

More and better roads attract more colonists. Roads increase land values leading colonists to sell their land and move. Consequently, the presence of a larger population justifies the construction of more roads. Better transportation makes agriculture and ranching more profitable and leads colonists to clear more land. Consequently, a positive feedback process is at work where roads are tied with new arrivals which leads to greater deforestation. There is also a decline in labor input and productivity with distance since labor requirements for the same crop varies from place to place (Chisholm, 1970). The greater the amount of land cleared per farm, the lower the productivity per unit of land area per day's work. The high labor productivity of cattle is critically important to the labor-scarce, land abundant household economy in the Amazon. The market alone will not produce land saving technological innovations or intensification in these situations (Pinch6n, 1996).

Access to markets including improved roads and cheaper transportation can

therefore induce intensification. As market access improves, farmers have an incentive to increase the area under cultivation for cash production. Increases in cash availability provide a means to further intensify input uses. In West Africa, agricultural intensification and high yields are due to good road systems, extension services, and technological change (Smith et al., 1994). In Madagascar, agricultural intensification is driven by demographic growth, market incentives, and a strong social structure (Kull,


1998). Market-driven intensification is believed to facilitate the adoption of land saving inputs more strongly than the population-driven intensification (Binswanger, 1987).

Agricultural Intensification as a Result of Population Pressures

Population growth is one driving force behind agricultural intensification which raises agricultural production levels sufficiently to support a growing population (Boserup, 1965). Extensive land use precedes intensive land use and any change in land use may be attributable to increased population pressures with some modification to the agricultural system. Population pressure cause fallows to be shortened with a transition into a multi-cropping system (Boserup, 1965). Additionally, the output per man hour increases with little or no capital investment resulting in more intensive land use systems. A growing population can increase food supplies through intensification where output per capita is maintained but output per area is increased (Boserup, 1965).

Many studies have been conducted using the Boserupian approach to agricultural intensification (e.g., Tarrant, 1974; Raintree and Warner, 1985; lbery, 1986; Lele and Stone, 1989; Goldman, 1993). If populations move with ease, or change professions easily, the size of a farm becomes a consequence of the physical area available and the amount of area a farmer is able to keep in production. However, if populations cannot move easily, the increased population pressure creates pressure to divide holdings into smaller parcels and generates intensification (Chisholm, 1970). In New Guinea, the widest range of agricultural technology is located in the densely populated areas which


have the greatest variety of terrain (Brookfield, 1962). Brookfield (1962) also concluded that population density was driving intensification rather than the physical setting. In addition to population growth other factors are believed to be key variables in agricultural intensification and change including market access, technology, and farmer innovation.

Intensive and extensive farming can occur in the same farming systems among the same farmers. The Iraqw of Tanzania practiced a traditional system of terracing and intensive agriculture that closely followed Boserup's model. After European colonization the Iraqw abandoned their terraces and adopted more extensive systems even though population density remained high. This was a result of complex factors including resources becoming available outside of the Iraqw's traditional homeland and individual decisions made by farmers (Snyder, 1996). Hillside agriculture was abandoned because of the perception that the soils were of low fertility, and the Iraqw now farm primarily bottom land. However, farmers are reforesting hillsides due to government programs and the desire to use less labor on remaining hillside agriculture (Snyder, 1996).

Intensification of vegetable gardening in the Phillippines was driven by dramatic population growth and an emphasis on gardening rather than extensive agricultural systems. This intensification resulted in a two and threefold increase in labor invested per unit of land over a seventeen-year period from 1971 to 1988. Returns to gardening labor were higher in 1988 than 1971 because of increased market opportunities, improved efficiency in production, and technological change. Market demand, production subsidies, and technological changes are the central variables to intensification in this system (Eder, 199 1).


Agricultural Intensification and Farmer Risk Mannement Strategies

Intensification is also believed to be based on the size and composition of the

household and upon individual household behavior (Chayanov, 1966; Turner and Brush, 1987; Ali, 1998). The relation of the ratio between consumers and producers within the household will increase to meet the needs of the house, even if marginal returns decrease (Boserup, 1965; Chayanov, 1966).

Other things being equal, small farms will be more intensive. Achieving a

standard of living which the individual farmer believes is reasonable is more important than obtaining maximum income (Chisholm, 1970; Netting, 1992). Once this standard of living is attained, then leisure time becomes available. The smaller the farm the greater must be the net income per hectare to achieve the minimum lifestyle. Therefore, there is then a strong tendency for farmers with small holdings to apply more labor and inputs to each hectare than on large farms (Chisholm, 1970). Conservation practices are difficult to justify on small farms except on very productive land which is not already degraded but is threatened with a large reduction in capability. In the end, the farm family is the decision making unit, but parameters of choice may be controlled by decision of others such as the government through fixed prices (Blaikie and Brookfield, 1987).

Farmers resist changes in their systems even when they have information; they tend to rely on first hand experiences (Turner and Brush, 1987). Traditional farming systems should not be viewed as purely ecological in nature. The socioeconomic situation in which they develop is critical and traditional systems will be abandoned if the


socioeconomic situation in which they developed changes (Wilken, 1987). Traditional farmers act like their industrial counterparts; they identify goals, minimize costs and maximize gains (Wilken, 1987).

Profit maximization and risk aversion behavior are practiced by all farmers.

Farmers are 'economic agents' and changes in the market create changes in agricultural systems. Agricultural systems that evolve at any locale are products of the economic rent (the difference in production of the same crop on a different piece of land). Economic rent will decrease with distance to the market and transport costs (Von ThUnen, 1966; Turner and Brush, 1987). Thus creating rings of land use around the market with the least intensive land use furthest away, just as Von ThUnen suggests. Farmers are thought to be efficient in response to the markets. Farmers trade off risks versus profits and hence maximize utility, not profit, and display 'proficient' behavior (Turner and Brush, 1987). Farmers tend to put the least effort and costs into intensification and choose systems which use the least effort and least cost to meet their goals. Peasants or small traditional farmers are risk takers and profit maximizers who respond efficiently to farm and market innovations (Turner and Brush, 1987). They combine their consumption goals with their commodity goals. Fanning systems are a mix of purposes rather than the ideal consumption system or commodity production system. Intensification in turn is a response to interactions between demand and the environmental context (Turner and Brush, 1987). Over time, farmer objectives and resources change, necessitating changes to farming strategies in response to the changing socioeconomic conditions (Wilken, 1987; Arnold and Dewees, 1995).


Farmers have a survival algorithm, those who lack in resources suffer greater risks and are more inclined to behave in risk averse manners than wealthier farmers. Economic constraints caused by uncertainty and risk, compounded by onerous relations of production, provide the impetus for the farmer to develop a farming system that will provide both subsistence and commodity-based products (Blaikie and Brookfield, 1987). The milpa system in Mexico meets subsistence needs, generates income, and builds equity in long term security. Even if production is generally low, the system persists because it gives each household partial control over food security. Farmers have the ability to participate in new markets and improved infrastructure without sacrificing control over their own resources or threatening the stability of the family economy. Small animals are important in these systems because they convert damaged or surplus products into flexible household assets (Beckerman, 1987; Ewell and Sands, 1987). Also important in these systems is the use of trees in agroforestry systems.

Agroforestry systems must be reviewed in the overall strategy a farmer develops for food security, social security, income generation, and risk management. Agroforestry is not an efficient way to alleviate poverty because farmers need year round production, and landlessness will not allow the production of trees.

Reduction in labor input is often accomplished through production of perennial crops. Income per man hour may increase and provide a diversified agroecosystemn that affords protection from risks of disease and fluctuating market prices (Raintree and Warner, 1986; Nair, 1993; Smith, 1996). The benefits from agroforestry include decreases in soil loss and erosion, increases in biodiversity, lowered risk of losses from


pests and diseases, production of multiple crops that have a high market value, and increased use of local indigenous knowledge (Hecht, 1982; Nair, 1993). Strong ecological reasons for the inclusion of the perennials include soil protection and enhancement and the ability of some tree species to grow on poor soils (Alvim, 1982). Agroforestry systems may be less environmentally degrading than monocropping of annual plants and provide a pathway to sustainable agriculture (Nair, 1993; Smith, 1996).

Farmers plant trees for three main reasons: soil maintenance and fertility

management; the use of products within the house; and for economic products. Many farmers are careful to maintain the roots of trees that they cut during slash and bum activities enabling regeneration of those trees during fallow. Fruits from protected and planted trees and other forest products provide variety in the diet and vitamins, calories, and minerals that may otherwise be lacking. Tree products supplement other resources and income flows (Arnold and Dewees, 1995). With the increase in government regulation of forests, farmers take precautionary steps in protecting trees on their property because the traditional system of forest resource management breaks down (Arnold and Dewees, 1995). In Kenya, farmers increased tree planting to obtain critical goods which would otherwise be bought with scarce cash, to diversify sources of cash income, and to protect food security in face of declining yields (Arnold and Dewees, 1995). Fruits are especially important in food security for children and agroforestry systems provide the conditions to alleviate food shortages during pre-harvest periods.

Diverse home garden systems emerge as agricultural intensification and tree management increases (Arnold and Dewees, 1995). Home gardens are used heavily


during the harvest season for snacks and are designed for varying agricultural cycles. Work on the home garden system can be done during the period of low annual labor demand in the agricultural cycle (Arnold and Dewees, 1995).

Agroforestry systems in the Amazon have been found to be highly diverse

(Denevan, 1984; Padoch et al., 1985; Hiraoka, 1986; Subler and Uhl, 1990; Smith et al., 1995). Agroforestry systems in Tamshiyacu, Peru, have allowed farmers to increase income and to earn it from a variety of resources that are available during the different stages of the agroforestry system (Padoch et al., 1985). Intensification of perennial crops is more lucrative than cattle ranching or shifting cultivation in Eastern Pard (Toniolo and Uhl 1995). However, there are some limitations to perennially based systems including, the limited economic value of some trees, the amount of time between planting and harvest, loss of trees to drought or pests, and potential competition with other crops (Hecht, 1982; Alvim, 1982; Sheer, 1995). The best suited perennial crops for production in the Amazon include rubber (Hevea brasiliensis), cacao (Theobroma cacao), oil palm (Elaeis guineeniss), and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) (Alvim, 1982). Other intensive crops such as black pepper (Piper nigrum) and papaya (Carica papaya) have great potential. New or underdeveloped crops include guarana, annatto (Bixa orrellana), peach palm (Bactris gasipaes), and an array of other palms for palm heart production (Alvim, 1982).


Agricultural Intensification and Government Policies

Governments promote many agricultural programs. Programs and policies change over time as a result of new information and technology and changing socioeconomic systems and conditions. Some policies and programs promote intensification of agriculture while others promote extensive land use.

Deforestation in the Amazon was limited due to the small population pressure and remoteness of the region until the 1975. Between 1975 and 1987, the deforestation rate increased exponentially to a rate of 12,500,000 hectares in 1980 (Moran, 1993). The primary reason was Brazil's financial incentives for cattle pasture and the government's colonization schemes. Deforestation rates are now declining as a result of Brazil's hyperinflation in the 1980s and the revocation of subsidies for pasture.

Cattle ranching is an Iberian cultural tradition and has been transferred to the Brazilian culture at large (Moran, 1993). Subsidies have played a great role in the conversion of forest to pasture. Even more important is the role that cattle play in the regional economy. Benefits of cattle to both large and small ranchers include the usefulness of the animals as a hedge against inflation, biological flexibility, the ability of livestock to occupy large areas with little labor, and the low economic risk associated with producing animals and pasture. All these combine to produce explosive expansion of a land use that produces minimal calories, protein, and direct monetary returns but maximum environmental degradation (Hecht, 1989). Nonetheless, cattle are an important factor in farmers' strategies for self reliance. Small farmers keep cattle for a number of


reasons. Cattle reduce risks from agriculture and require little labor and supplement household food with milk and calves. They generate income in bad times, extend the life of a cleared area, protect savings, serve as collateral for credit, and assure occupation rights. Furthermore, cattle can transport themselves to market (Hecht, 1989).

Policies and programs on reforestation and the use of agroforestry are taking the place of extensive land use policies. In the 1970s, policies regarding agroforestry focused on environmental reclamation and protection which may not have been helpful to individual farmers (Arnold and Dewees, 1995). Agroforestry systems have been promoted through formal and informal means in the Amazon basin. Researchers have noted their importance in generating income, enriching local peoples diet, and protecting the soil. However, government programs, such as the one in the municipality of Monte Alegre, are meeting with successes and failures. Failures stem in part from the lack of an infrastructure and the low value of some perennial crops in relation to transportation costs.

Serrdo and Homma (1993) have reviewed various land use systems in the

Brazilian Amazon and have classified them as sustainable or not, based on parameters that include technology, social acceptance, environmental soundness and economic viability. They state that sustainable agriculture development in the Amazon depends upon its permanence in an area, increased land and labor productivity, all of which in turn reduce the pressure for more deforestation (Anderson, 1990; Serrdo and Hornma, 1993). They further state that more than enough land has been deforested in the Amazon to meet current population demands for at least the next decade. Additionally, only 50 percent of


the already deforested land and other less fragile ecosystems such as savannahs and flood plains would need to be under agricultural production to attain this goal (Serrdo and Homma, 1993). Serrdo and Homma (1993) make clear that in order for agriculture to be sustainable in the Amazon, intensification must take place.

Theoretical Implications of Agricultural Intensification on the Uplands and Flood Plains

This study compares the relationships between land, labor, and markets, in the upland and flood plain environments to determine if there are different outcomes for otherwise similar land, labor, and market combinations. This study is not intended to define or prove or disprove any claims to sustainability. However, the study may illuminate differences in intensification and the role of markets in the two regions and provide information for future development potential in each region. Land use patterns as posited by Von ThUnen are expected due to the nature and state of transportation and markets in the Amazon. Additionally, farmers using traditional agricultural practices are expected to base their decisions on a strategy that allows them to achieve their goals of subsistence production, savings, and income generation.




The Amazon Basin covers approximately two-thirds of South America, with a total surface area of 7.18 million square kilometers (Caviedes and Knapp, 1995). The river itself is 6,400 kilometers long and contains more fresh water than any other river system in the world. The basin has a complex geological and geomnorphological history that has formed the two distinct environments of concern to this study: the floodplains and uplands. In the Cretaceous period, the Amazon River flowed west into the Pacific Ocean; with the rise of the Andes Mountain, the Amazon began flowing east into the Atlantic Ocean. The change in flow of the river impacted the Amazonian environment greatly and allowed the Amazon River to cut through the Brazilian and Guiana granitic shields (Smith, 198 1; Caviedes and Knapp, 1995; Goulding et al., 1996). These shields are some of the oldest existing land formations and are remnants of the earlier continent Gondwana (Caviedes and Knapp, 1995). Many soils formed from these shields are highly weathered and lack nutrients necessary for agricultural crops. However, additional sediments were laid down in the Amazon basin through the Tertiary and Quaternary periods forming some upland areas with relatively fertile soils (Caviedes and Knapp, 34


1995). The Amazon Basin is not characterized by a dramatic rise in elevation. Manaus, which is four thousand kilometers upstream from the Atlantic Ocean is only 150 to 180 feet above sea level (Goulding et al., 1996).

The primary source of the Amazon River is in the high Andes, but it also receives inputs from two other watersheds: one from the Brazilian Shield and the other from the Guiana Shield (Caviedes and Knapp, 1995). Furthermore, the Amazon River system contains three types of rivers: white, black and clear water. The variety of water types has profound effects on the ecosystems and diversity of life within the Basin (Sioli, 1967; Smith, 198 1; Goulding et al., 1996). White water rivers, the Amazon being the largest, are rich in sediments received from the Andes and are the most biologically productive due to their high nutrient load (Caviedes and Knapp, 1995; Smith, 1996). Black water rivers such as the Negro, receive water from areas with dense forest cover and soils lacking in organic matter. The black color of the rivers results from the leaching of tannic acid from leaves that fall from the canopy overhead. Black water rivers are the least productive of all of the Amazonian rivers due to their lack of nutrients and low pH (Caviedes and Knapp, 1995; Smith, 1996). Finally, clear water rivers drain lands on the Brazilian and Guiana shields. They are vibrant blue in color and are nutrient poor because the soils covering the shields are old and highly weathered (Caviedes and Knapp, 1995; Smith, 1996) (Figure 1.2).

The Amazon Basin lies wholly within the tropics and is close to the

equator along its stretch. This tropical environment is marked by constant temperatures


throughout the year, averaging between 26 and 28' C. The greatest variation in temperature exists between the daily highs and lows that fluctuate between 5 and 100 C.

Precipitation in the Basin varies between 1000 and 3000 millimeters per year. Rain forests receive the highest amount of precipitation while the savannahs the least. The rainy season varies throughout the basin with the Eastern region receiving the most evenly distributed rain fall, while the middle and lower Amazon experience distinct dry seasons from August to January (Salati, 1985; Goulding et al., 1996). Precipitation data from the research area in Monte Alegre, Pard, show a distinct dry season from August through November (Figure 3. 1). Additionally precipitation fluctuates yearly (Figure 3.2).

Most of the rivers in the Amazon Basin are seasonally inundated. During the

flood stage they overflow their banks and penetrate into the forests and streams that flank them. These flood plains are estimated to encompass 25,000 square kilometers in area, but occur primarily on the Amazon River itself (Smith, 198 1). The river floods from four to six months depending on the location in the Basin. The northern tributaries begin to rise in March or April and subside in September, while the southern tributaries rise in November and subside in April (Goulding et al., 1996).

When the Amazon river spills out of the main channel, it floods low lying areas creating the look of an ocean in some places. The flood plains can reach a width of 50 kilometers (Smith, 198 1). The main channel has natural levees known as restingas formed from sediment deposition and are the highest points on the vdrzea or flood plain. Consequently, these areas are the most densely populated on the flood plain. Behind the slope of the restingas is often a lake, or series of sales that fill during flood stage


(Smith, 198 1; Caviedes and Knapp, 1996). Side arms of the main channel, or parands, may stay filled with water during the year, but often dry and become clogged with aquatic vegetation. The flood plain lakes are refreshed with the Amazon's water each flood season and many lakes may be interconnected during the high water to form one large lake (Smith, 198 1) (Figure 3.3). The main river channels may also have many islands exposed during low water, creating a maze between the side and main channels (Goulding et al., 1996).

Much of the area adjacent to the Amazon's main river channel is forested and

becomes seasonally inundated, creating flooded forests which are highly diverse and are highly productive. Many trees must spend the first years of their lives totally submerged in the flood waters for periods up to six months (Goulding, et al., 1996). These trees are adapted to the seasonal flooding, but cannot tolerate permanent waterlogging and require a period of time without water. Fish depend on these flooded forests for food, shelter, and mating sites and they are essential in maintaining the Amazonian fisheries (Goulding et al., 1996).

In addition to the flooded forests, the flood plains have floating meadows made of grasses, sedges and broad-leaved plants. These meadows may be tied to the shore by roots or may be free floating. They thrive in areas of open sunlight and wind-protected parts of lakes and tributaries. Meadows serve as shelters for a great variety of invertebrates and fish fry which feed on invertebrates (Goulding, et al., 1996). These floating meadows may also be life rafts that carry the first tree seeds to newly exposed





(D 150E

100 50 0
J F M A M J J A S 0 N D J Months

Figure 3.1 Monthly fluctuation in precipitation in Monte Alegre, PA

3000 T7


02000- f j


1000 500
1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996

Figure 3.2 Annual fluctuation in precipitation in Monte Alegre, PA


Main Channel Restinga Parani Flooded Floodplain Uplands
Forest Lake

Low Water .......
High Water Level

Figure 3.3 Cross-sectional view of the Amazon Flood plain


islands along the river channel. Adjoining the flood plains are the uplands, which are a mosaic of soils and ecosystems. The uplands have been called "Green Hell," and have often been represented as a vast, flat, tropical rainforest underlain by poor soils unable to support human populations (Carmargo, 1958; Meggars, 1995). The contrary is true. The uplands are a patchwork of various vegetation types reflecting varying environmental and social conditions (Moran, 1995). Research has revealed that the Basin contains some very fertile Alfisols and Mollisols with a high potential for agricultural land use (Moran, 1995). However, very little is known about the extent of these soils and it was not until Brazilian colonization began that more in depth information was obtained on the upland environment.

Monte Alegre, Pard

Both dynamic environments are present in the municipality of Monte Alegre

(Figure 1.4). The municipality lies 20 north of the equator at 540 west longitude, and is located in the Lower Amazon region. Monte Alegre contains a diverse mix of savannah and dry forests, with extensive flood plains. The municipality covers roughly 26,000 square kilometers of upland area. Of this, 40% is wooded (10,400 kin2), 40% is in pasture and agriculture (10,400 kin2) and the remaining 20% (5200 kin2) is characterized by secondary growth. The flood plains cover an additional 5,000 km2 (M. Ishiguro, pers. com.). The municipality of Monte Alegre is ideal for this study because of its diverse environment and the inclusion of extensive flood plains and upland areas.


The municipality was of interest to the European explorers in the mid-i 1800's,

being visited by Wallace and noticed by Hartt in 1874 (Hartt, 1874; Wallace, 1889). The hills of Monte Alegre drew particular interest because the first 300 miles of ascent of the Amazon River are monotonous, with little rise in elevation and the vegetation encloses the banks of the river (Hartt, 1874). At Monte Alegre, these early explorers found greater relief and interest in the table top mountains of Piati~na and Erer6. Hartt (1874) conducted a survey of the mountains to determine their origin and deduced that the hills originated in the Tertiary period arising out of a flat Devonian bed. Hartt (1874) explored the Serra of Erer6 and his colleague Staunton visited the Serra of Piatd~na. They noted that the two mountains are composed of horizontal beds of sandstone that were probably part of a synclinal fold. Both Wallace (1889) and Hartt (1874) noted the early Amerindian rock paintings at Erer6 and Piatiina. In fact, these works led archeologist Anna Roosevelt to conduct research in the municipality in the 1990s. Roosevelt's research shows that these areas were used by paleolithic people as early as 11,000 B.P. and that people used the rock shelters provided by the serras throughout the intervening years (Roosevelt, 1996).

The soils of Monte Alegre were examined by Falesi in 1970 and his work

confirms the Devonian era as the time of origin for a large part of the upland area (Falesi, 1970). Falesi's work also identifies a Pleistocene beachhead, approximately seven kilometers wide, which lies just north of the city. Another table top mountain, the Serra Itaujuri, originated in the Cretaceous period and is characterized by coarse sandstone. Diabase dikes arise from the Jurassic period and can be found jutting out in the middle of


the open country. Calcareous rocks from the upper Carboniferous occur near the villas of Dois Galhos and Mulata. Finally, more recent deposits are found along the shores of the rivers Amazon and Gurubatuba (Falesi, 1970). The variety of soils in this municipality is typical of other areas in the Amazon Basin. The heterogenous soils and the geomorphology are exploited for agriculture by the farmers in the area. History of Monte Alegre

Before European conquest Monte Alegre was inhabited by the Gurubatuba Indians who used both the flood plains and upland areas for subsistence. In 1639, Pedro Teixeira visited the area but was forced to leave by the Gurubatubas (Friaes, 1996). In 1681, Jesuit missionaries established a church and convent in the city, then known as Gurubatuba. This church remained the largest in the area through the mid- 1700's when the city became known by its current name Monte Alegre (Friaes, 1996; Denevan, 1997). The Gurubatubas were enslaved by the Portuguese and were used in the construction of the city of Bel~m and the fort at Macapd. Presumably many of these people never returned to Monte Alegre. During the mid-1700's Portuguese settlers began moving to the area (Friaes, 1996). In 1802, Count Marcos de Noronha Brito provided financial incentives to the settlers to plant cacao in the region. In addition to the cacao, extraction and exportation of wood from the uplands down the Amazon River to the Atlantic were the mainstays of the area (Friaes, 1996). By the mid-1800's crop production and cattle ranching had become the primary economic activities in the municipality (Wallace, 1889). Exports from Monte Alegre to Bel6m at this time


included:farinha or manioc flour, rice, corn, beans, cacao, brown sugar, cattle, butter, pirarucu and manatee meat the tongue was a delicacy at that time (Friaes, 1996). In 1860, the population of Monte Alegre reached 4,000 people and was declared a city.

The municipality continued to grow slowly through the 1900's. Brazil was

actively recruiting immigrants to fill its frontier due to fears of foreign invasions (Moran, 1981; Schmink and Wood, 1992). Some countries, such as Japan, were eager to send volunteers abroad to relieve population pressures and contribute to their economy from foreign sources. Thus in 1933, the Companhia Niponica began establishing farming communities of Japanese immigrants in the State of Pard (Pari Agriqola, 1933). Monte Alegre was one site selected for the Japanese immigrants. Other sites include Tome Aqu, Santa Maria, Assaisal, Boa Vista, Ipitinga and Aqua Branca. The Monte Alegre community was established in the village of Mulata in 1933 with 63 homes. The Companhia Niponica contributed seedlings to farmers including: 10,000 cashew (Anacardium occidentale), 6,400 cacao (Theobroma cacao), 700 coconut (Cocos nucifera), 800 andiroba (Carapa guianensis) and 1,500 of munguba (Pseudobombax munguba) (Pardi Agriqola, 1933). The company also set up an experimental station with cedar (Cedrela odorato), coffee (Coffea spp.), oranges (Citrus spp.), sapucaia (Lecythis pisonis), guarand (Paullina cupana), cacao (Theobroma cacao) and quinine (Cinchona officinalis) (Pard Agriqola, 1933). The community soon faltered because of poor transportation to markets and lack of communication with the outside world and with the Companhia Niponica (Pard Agriqola, 1933). Thirty-five Japanese families remain in


Monte Alegre today, none of whom live in Mulata. Some of them are descendants of the original settlers, but most have immigrated to Monte Alegre since the 1950s.

Monte Alegre municipality was targeted for federal ly-sponsored colonization in the 1960's by the Brazilian Agency for colonization and agrarian reform Inst ituto Nacional de Colon izacio Reforma Agrdria (INCRA). Fifty thousand people moved into the upland areas of the municipality over a period of forty years, most of whom come from Northeastern Brazil (Carvalho and Lins, 1992) (Figure 3.4). At last census, there were more than 65,000 people in the municipality. The majority, 60%, live in the city, while the remaining 40% live in scattered villages in the rural areas.

During the peak of Brazil's colonization efforts in the 1970s, INCRA was the

most powerful agency in the colonization plans. It was responsible for surveying the land to be colonized, building health and education facilities, distributing land, and managing

70000 60000 50000

-40000 00-30000

20000 10000

1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 1995

Figure 3.4 Population growth in Monte Alegre from the mid-1I900s


all of the colony activities. By the end of the 1980's, IINCRA had lost most of its power to other agencies and was left with the responsibility of distributing land. Municipalities took over most of the other functions previously held by IINCRA (I. Moacir pers. corn.).

The city of Monte Alegre and its existing infrastructure of schools, hospitals, government, markets and agricultural cooperative made this federallIy-sponsored colonization project effective when compared with other colonization projects in the Amazon (Almeida, 1992). The costs incurred by IINCRA were less than other directed colonization efforts and private colonization schemes throughout the Amazon (Almeida, 1992). New colonists continue to arrive in Monte Alegre, while the original colonists' children have matured and are starting their own farms. To provide more land, INCRA opened a new colony, Serra Azul, in 1994. It is intended for settlement by colonists' children who are allotted 50 hectares per family (M. Ishiguro, pers. corn.).

In contrast to the uplands, the flood plains were never targeted for colonization. Approximately 30 communities are situated on the Monte Alegre flood plains, all of which are at least 100 years old. Many were originally Indian villages, such as Aldeia. Five villages are located on the seasonally flooded restinga between the Amazon River and the permanent lake, Lago Grande. Another village is seasonally inundated, but lies on a parand of the Amazon River. Population in these communities has remained constant over the past hundred years. Today however, many young people do not want to continue living on the flood plains and are moving to the city to attend school and work. The other twenty villages are located on the cusp of the great lake, Lago Grande, and the uplands. The residents of the flood plain communities are primarily fishermen and


engage in seasonal agriculture to supplement their incomes. During the six months of low water, the fertile soils left by the retreating river are exposed and used for cattle pasture and short season vegetables. High value crops such as tomatoes, watermelons, green beans and melons are ideal for this location.

The majority of agricultural products are taken to the city of Monte Alegre or Santar6m for sale. Residents fish throughout the waters of the municipality and many also fish in the waters of Alenquer and bbidos. Their catches are sold locally or are contracted to large boat owners for the regional and national markets. Lago Grande has been used heavily in the past ten years and fishermen complain that it has been over fished. In fact, violence over community rights and exclusion of large commercial trawlers is a problem in the area (Aradjo, 1994). Many flood plain communities are beginning to organize and file for official government recognition to their land rights (McGrath et al., 1993). Some of these same villages are beginning to exert local control over the flood plain lakes and are prohibiting commercial fishermen from entering the lakes (McGrath et al., 1993).

The Government and Infrastructure in Monte Alegre

The municipality is the main governing body with the mayor's office located in the city of Monte Alegre. Elections are held every two years and any party may put forward a candidate for election to the mayor's position or that of the city council (vereadorlcamdra). The mayor has at his disposal the federal agencies that are located in the city, such as the agricultural extension agency (EMATER) and the colonization


agency (INCRA). Additionally, the mayor's office oversees the infrastructure of the municipality including education, transportation and communications. The mayor also has the discretion to institute educational and agricultural programs for the municipality. Each village within the municipality also has its own leader and governing body, although this is a less formal arrangement.

The city of Monte Alegre is the major economic and social center of the

municipality and is divided into two distinct areas due to topography. The lower city (cidade baxic) sits directly on the banks of the Gurubatuba River and the upper city (cidade alto) sits on a bluff some 50 meters above the lower city. Residents of the flood plains and colonies use the city as their main market and purchasing center. Purchased manufactured products include such items as clothes, household goods, and foods such as coffee, sugar and bread.

A survey of vendors in the city revealed that agricultural products are traded in the cidade alto while the fish and general household goods are traded in the cidade baxio (Table 3. 1, Figure 3.5). Furthermore, the cidade alto is the gateway to the colonies, while the cidade baxio is the gateway to the river. Transportation

Transport into Monte Alegre from outside the municipality is primarily by boat. There are roads from the city to the colonies and there is a road that connects Monte Alegre to the municipalities of Prainha, Alenquer and 6bidos. The roads however, are


Table 3. 1. Vendors in Monte Alegre

Merchandise Cidade Alto Cidade Baxio

Fruit Stand 12 6

Supermarket 2 4

Pharmacy 2 11

Car repair 61

General 12 16

Hardware 1

Bars 2 3

Clothing 5 15

Sewing 2 0

Butchers 4 2

Children's I I

Wholesalers 6 0

Food stands 21 2

Saddle shop 1 0

Drink distributor 2 5

Dentist 2 1

Funeral home 1 0

Hotels 3 3

Agriculture supply 0 2

Restaurant 2 6





not paved and are poorly maintained. During the rainy season they become filled with potholes and mud making travel slow. Many cars and buses become stuck in the mire making the trips to the colonies more arduous. Additionally, the bridges are not well maintained so trucks often ford the streams rather than use the shaky bridges. Transport to the colonies is regular with four transportation lines in the city. People and agricultural products are transported on buses and large Toyota pickup trucks. Many of the trucks are brightly painted and have been given fanciful names such as "Gigante do Pard" (Giant of Pard), "Cometa de Halley" (Halley's Comet), "0 Gatdo (The Big Cat), "Ar auto da estrada" (Air-auto of the Highway), Dragdo Verineiho (Red Dragon), Cowboy da Estrada (Highway Cowboy) and Travdo Azul (Blue Thunder). Boat traffic is regularly scheduled with one or two ferries departing every night for Santar~m, the main regional center. The boat trip from Santar~m to Monte Alegre takes five hours while the return takes eight hours. From Santar~m, boats, roads, and airplanes connect the region to the rest of Brazil.

The cost of overland transport in Monte Alegre in 1996 and 1997 varied between $ 1.00 and $2.00 US per trip per person depending on the distance traveled. The buses have regular schedules and will pick up riders anywhere along their routes. For example, scheduled transportation to Sector 15 is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Close communities such as Pariqo and Nazar6 enjoy daily service. In addition, the truck drivers will stop at individual houses to deliver and pick up items such as car batteries that need recharging. Bus owners state that the cost of transport is high due to the poor condition of the roads and the continual maintenance needed on the trucks. Some villages located


on the cusp of the flood plains and uplands have both road and boat transportation. such as Pariqo and Sdo Diogo. Other flood plain villages such as Sapucaia and Cuierus, may only be reached by boat. Transportation directly affects farmers' ability to get their agricultural produce to the market quickly, economically, and in saleable condition. Education

Each village in the municipality has a school that offers at least the first four years of education to children. These schools are funded by the municipality and the state The number of schools seems encouraging, a total of 217, but the majority of the schools have only one room with no books, chalkboard or any other teaching aids. High school is only offered in the city of Monte Alegre or other urban centers such as Santar6m or Bel6m. Twice as many girls attend high school as boys because boys generally stay at home to help their parents with the farming. Girls attend high school to earn a certificate in teaching or nursing, hoping to gain employment and aid their family's income. Two options exist for children who leave the colonies to attend high school in the city. They can live with relatives or they can find part-time employment in homes as cooks or housekeepers.

Farm families with children in high school have a reduced work force, which

affects their agricultural production. Many women leave the farm to live in the city while their children attend school, further reducing the labor available on the farm. Women and children often return to the farm on the weekends or during the peak agricultural labor seasons to aid in harvesting. The attraction of education in urban areas has induced some


farm families to abandon their lots on the uplands and flood plains, hoping that their children will have greater opportunities in the urban setting. Nongovernmental Organizations

There are a number of non-governmental organizations that deal with issues related to farmers, ranchers and fishermen in Monte Alegre. The upland farmers are represented by the Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais. Fishermen are represented by the Colonia dos Pescadores, and ranchers are represented by the Sindicato dos Productores. The small farmers' association helps families obtain loans from banks, lobbies the government for assured prices on agricultural products, and serves as a social gathering place. The ranchers' association also lobbies the government on issues relating to cattle. The fishermen's association provides social services to its members, including a day care center and educational programs for children and mothers, and serves as the filter for government regulations regarding fishing. The small farmers and fishermen's associations are affiliated with other such associations throughout the region. The Sindicato dos Trabaihadores Rurais is also involved with the Gritou na Terra (The Earth Screamed) movement in eastern Pard. This organization is involved with the Sem Terra (People Without Land), which is lobbying the government for land reform in Brazil, guaranteed agricultural prices, government financing for agriculture, and protection of land rights.

Monte Alegre has an agricultural cooperative, Cooperativa Integral de Reforma Agrdria de Monte Alegre (CRAMA) started by the Japanese immigrants in 1965. It is used primarily by farmers in the colonies. New colonists are afforded guaranteed access


to the market with decent prices for their products in their first year of production. The primary cash crop of the municipality is maize; 25% of all maize produced in the state of ParA comes from Monte Alegre (Swales, 1993). The agricultural cooperative's influence has proven to be strong and was a stabilizing factor in the colonists' ability to remain on theirland. Almeida (1992) found that the Monte Alegre colonization effort was one of the most successful in all of the Amazon, one reason being the strength of the cooperative. The cooperative's emphasis on maize has influenced the crop selection of the small farmers in the colonies. Farmers state that even if they do not belong to the agricultural cooperative they grow maize because they know that there is a market for it in Monte Alegre.

In 1990, the cooperative contracted with the federal government to provide 500 tons of high quality maize for seed. However, in 199 1, elections brought in a new government which did not honor the contract causing the cooperative to sell the high quality seed corn for a fourth of its value for animal feed (Swales, 1993). The cooperative continues to operate at a reduced level and many of the farmers in colonies are not aware that it is still in business. The cooperative's main objective is the purchase and sale of maize, and secondarily beans and rice (Swales, 1993). Many of the government officials in Monte Alegre blame the downfall of the cooperative on its inability or unwillingness to keep up with the current market emphasis. The lack of diversification in the products the cooperative sells has put it in a high risk situation.

Another nongovernmental association that has a strong influence on agriculture in the municipality is the AssociaVdo Nippon Brasilero (The Japanese Brazilian


Association.) This association's main purpose is cultural. However, of the 34 member Japanese families that reside in Monte Alegre, at least seven of the members are trained in agronomy and economics and 27 of the members are farmers. These members aid other members with technical advice on farming and economic matters. The association also has a small nursery where members can obtain seedlings. Agricultural Proarams

Numerous programs to improve education, health care and agriculture for the

municipality's residents have been launched since 1993. The mayors involved were very interested in sustainable agricultural development through agroforestry. They also had great interest in agroforestry as a means to provide tree cover to agricultural fields and to raise the income of farmers in the colonies. The municipality's Secretary of Agriculture is directly responsible for aiding the municipality's farmers and provides technical assistance to farmers, and also serves as the liaison with the Federal agricultural extension agents at EMATER. Additionally, the Secretary is responsible for leading the municipality's agricultural programs.

There are a number of programs instituted at the municipal level. Of main interest to this study are the Programa da Vdrzea and Pro grama Agroflorestal, a project to distribute perennial crops to the colonies. Both programs were lead by the municipality with the cooperation and input of the EMATER staff.

The first project, Pro grama da Vdrzea, began in 1993 and ran for three years.

This program had a two pronged approach. The first was a demonstration project on land


owned by the municipality on the flood plains. Seedlings of tomatoes, melons and squash were germinated in seed beds then transplanted to the flood plain soils. The fields had been tilled and weeded. The demonstration plots were regularly irrigated with river water and production was carefully calculated. The demonstration plots were invaded by cattle and suffered great damage. The municipality concluded that the demonstration plots did not provide an adequate measure of agricultural production on the flood plains and discontinued the experimental station. The second approach to the Programa da Vdrzea was to distribute seeds to communities on the flood plains at no initial charge. The crops were limited to watermelon, squash and melon. At harvest, participants in the program were expected to give 20% of their produce to the municipality to be distributed to creches, schools and other social programs within the Monte Alegre.

Program Agroflorestal was instituted by the mayor in 1993 and provided

colonists with saplings of orange and lime. This program was instituted to encourage perennial crops on the uplands because they were believed to contribute to sustainable agricultural practices. EMATER agents were enlisted by the municipality to distribute the seedlings to the colonists. Saplings were bought in Bel6m and shipped to Monte Alegre. The saplings were transplanted to the agricultural station operated by the municipality, which is located on the periphery of the city. The Secretary of Agriculture distributed saplings to farmers in the colonies at no charge in 1995. (J. Santana, pers. com.). After two months, the municipality's extension agents found that the saplings in the colonies had all died or were not growing properly. Due to this lack of success, officials changed their philosophy on the project and began to sell the saplings. They


believed that if the saplings were purchased they would have more value and that the farmers would take better care of them. However, some farmers and members of the nonprofit organizations believe that the seedlings failed because the municipality was not able to properly distribute them or perhaps because they were of low quality. The Associafdo Nippon Brasilero was then asked if they would take over the distribution of the seedlings, charging US $ 1.50 per seedling. This price is out reach for most of the small farmers in the colonies. Therefore, only the larger farmers have any access to these seedlings.

The Associa!do Nippon Brasilero also has a project sponsored by IB3AMA

(Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recoursos Naturais Renovdveis) through a project titled Programa Piloto para a Prote~do das Florestas Tropicais do BrasilProjecto Demostrativo A. (Pilot Program for the Protection of the Tropical Forests of Brazil Demonstration Project A). This project has the general goal to produce saplings of agroforestry species to be distributed to the rural population within the municipality. One of the trees distributed through the program is rubber. There are currently three farmers in the municipality that have trees producing latex. Additional farmers are integrating rubber into their farming systems, but those trees are not yet producing latex. The Associa~do Nippon Brasilero is trying to recruit Brazilians to participate in the rubber project and is in the process of setting up another association especially for this project called the Hortoflorestal Educativa de Monte Alegre. The Japanese farmers have embraced rubber because of the financial incentives provided by IBAMA and because they believe that the future market for natural latex will continue to grow in the medical


field and in high quality tires and sports shoes. There is no history or cultural tradition within the municipality of rubber tapping, therefore, the Japanese who have rubber have hired rubber tappers from Bellterra, Henry Ford's attempt at plantation rubber in the Amazon located on the southern side of the Amazon River near Santar6m.

Villages Visited on the Uplands

Seven upland communities were visited in this study and farmers were interviewed regarding their agricultural practices, land use, decision making and demographics. Communities were selected for inclusion in the study based on their distance from the city of Monte Alegre and the farmers' willingness to participate in the study (Figure 1.4).

Sector 15

Sector 15 is located approximately 60 kilometers by road from Monte Alegre.

Bus transportation takes four to four and one half hours to Monte Alegre and is provided three days per week at a cost of US $1.50 one way. This colony has 30 households and is divided into upper and lower communities by distance about 10 kilometers apart. Neither community has electricity, televisions, radios or cars.

Sector 15 was opened for INCRA colonization in 1986. Many of the first

residents remain. Two schools provide education, one at each end of the community. The farmers in Sector 15 all believe that they have poor soils. They were particularly hurt


by the strong drought that occurred in 1997. Many farmers lost all of their perennials, including oranges, palms and limes.

Sector 13

Like Sector 15, Sector 13 is an INCRA colony founded eleven years ago. The

majority of farmers interviewed were natives of Monte Alegre and a number of extended families live in the colony. Sector 13 is located approximately 55 kilometers from the city and is also approximately four and one half hours by truck to Monte Alegre, and operates three days a week. The cost of transportation in 1996 was US$ 1.00 to $2.00 one way, depending on the amount of produce hauled. Farmers in Sector 13 believe that their soils are of good quality. One fanner has been planting soy beans and stated that he had as high production as farmers in southern Brazil. He was not, however, able to sell the beans in Monte Alegre. A number of residents of Sector 13 are involved in a regional land reform movement of "Gritou Terra


Mulata was the original site of the first Japanese settlement in Monte Alegre, but no Japanese remain in the village today. Mulata is located on the main highway 30 kilometers and approximately three hours by bus from Monte Alegre. Mulata is a mix of large cattle ranches and small farms. Ranchers who also raise crops and sell most of their agricultural produce, while the small farmers use most of their produce within the household. Soils are characterized as weak and most of the farmers interviewed planned to convert all of their land to pasture. Small farmers were converting land into pasture even though they did not own cattle. They stated that they were planning for a day when


they would be ranchers. Many of the town's teenage children live in Monte Alegre to attend high school, reducing the work force on some farms. Limdo

Limdo is the center of Japanese residents in the municipality. It is located

approximately 44 kilometers from Monte Alegre on the main highway BR 254. This unpaved but heavily traveled road links the municipalities of Prianha, Monte Alegre, and Alenquer. The soils are suitable for growing a great variety of crops. The Japanese grow exclusively for the regional and international market and have large plantations of black pepper. Problems withfusarium fungus have plagued these farmers in the past ten years reducing pepper production and they can no longer purchase new planting stock and are relying on the existing stock. Salmonella is common in black pepper produced in Brazil. Due to unsanitary processing and the United States has banned the import of black pepper from Brazil since 1994. However, the Japanese have maintained their position in the international market through a previous certification process. They are also involved in large scale citrus production and rubber is also being planted on a large scale.

The Japanese have their own transportation, farm with machinery, and hire all of their labor. Most of the Japanese do not live on their farms, but do maintain a small house where they spend weekends in the country. The majority have propane stoves and ovens, propane lights and indoor plumbing. A number of Japanese farmers return routinely to Japan for work to raise money needed for additional investments on their farms. During their absence the hired laborers continue the agricultural production on the farms.


Tres Bocas

Tres Bocas is located 13 kilometers from Monte Alegre, approximately one hour and a half by bus every day at a cost of $ 1.00 each way. The road to this community is narrow and winds along the Serra Itaujuri. Bus service is provided to the city twice a week, but many residents of Tres Bocas have their own transportation. Tres Bocas is a mix of cattle ranches and small farmers. Most of the farmers in Tres Bocas believe that the soils are poor due to the long history of use. Half the farmers interviewed rent land and are indentured to one rancher in the area. These farmers produce maize sold through the cooperative and purchase their food from their patron. The other half of the farmers interviewed consume the majority of their agricultural produce within the household and have extensive home gardens surrounding the house. One farmer had a diverse home garden with 22 different types of plants. He also had a row of large mango trees that were no less than 15 feet in diameter and had been scored heavily to encourage the trees to produce fruit. The farmer reported that these trees were 80 years old.

Cattle are sent to the floodplains during the dry season, giving the ranchers the opportunity to weed the pastures that quickly become choked with palms. Capeoria, or weedy secondary growth characterizes this landscape which has been in crop and livestock production for at least one hundred years. Terra Preta

Terra Preta is located approximately six kilometers from Monte Alegre, one half hour by bus every day at a cost of $ 1.00 each way. Like Tres Bocas, this community has been inhabited for at least one hundred years. One couple interviewed were in their 70's


and stated that their parents farmed the land before them. Terra Preta is characterized by Capeoria and the farmers report that the land is poor.

Farmers report that birds are the main pests in the rice fields and that they lose

more rice than they harvest. Further, the government no longer guarantee prices for rice. Therefore, many of the farmers no longer plant rice. Some farmers are converting, all of their land to pasture.


Jusaratuia is located approximately five kilometers, a 20 minute bus ride from Monte Alegre. Situated on the wide band of sand described by Falesi (1970), poor soils dominate this community. The community has daily bus service at a cost of $0.60 each way, and many residents work in Monte Alegre. This community is at least one hundred years old. The older residents stated that their parents grew up in the area. Jusaratuia is known as a poor community with few opportunities and because it is located so close to the city, the majority of children attend high school and leave home at an early age.

Villages Visited on the Flood plains

Five flood plain communities were visited in this study and farmers were interviewed regarding their agricultural practices, land use, decision making and demographics (Figure 1.4).



Piapo is a village of 23 households and 138 people, is approximately 70

kilometers from Monte Alegre and 30 kilometers from Santar~m. Travel time by boat is approximately seven hours to Monte Alegre and four hours to Santar~m. This village lies on the restinga between the Amazon River and Lago Grande. None of the residents of Piapo have cattle or buffalo. The village's water source is the Amazon River, there is no electricity, and no one owns a television although, some residents do own radios.

The village is located high on the restinga and endures total inundation by flood waters only once every few years. Residents of Piapo are able to plant and harvest long season crops such as manioc: and pineapple as well as perennials such as banana, guava, mango and ingd. Coffee was planted in the village five years ago, but a high flood killed all of the trees. Only one person has replanted coffee. Villagers also plant rice, beans, sugar cane, corn, squash and melons. Agricultural products are sold in Santar~m along with the fish caught by the residents. An average of 65% of all agricultural produce is sold while the rest is consumed in the house.

Santa Rita

Santa Rita is also situated on the restinga between the Amazon River and Lago Grande, and is flooded only for a few weeks ever few years. It is approximately 56 kilometers from Monte Alegre, and travel time by boat is approximately five hours to Monte Alegre and six to Santar~m, both of which serve as market centers. The village has 60 households and its main source of livelihood is fishing. A diesel generator supplies


electricity to Santa Rita from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every night. The village's water source is the Amazon River.

The houses at Santa Rita are laid out in a line on a single main street, each home has a home garden that includes medicinal plants and spices on raised beds, usually an old canoe. Most residents have chickens and ducks. Santa Ritans planted cacao 15 years ago, but it was wiped out by a series of sequential floods. Consequently, few residents in Santa Rita now plant perennial crops. Santa Rita was also the location of extensive jute plantings through the 1900's until the low value of the fiber on the Brazilian market made it no longer profitable to grow. Residents are currently engaged in limited planting of annual crops of beans, com, cabbage, lettuce and collard greens. The village was a part of the Programa da Vdrzea in 1997. Forty-six of the residents farm cooperatively in this venture on three hectares of land producing lettuce, melons and green beans for the market in Monte Alegre. The program is intended to raise money during the dry season while the ban on fishing is in place. Some residents alternate crops between years to capture the greatest value for their crop from year to year.

Many of the residents complain that the cattle that graze on flood plain pastures during the low water have destroyed valuable agricultural land. Additionally, cattle and buffalo eat any crops that are not vigilantly protected. The Santa Ritan's cattle spend the wet season in the upland colonies on rented land, and they pay US $0. 10 per head per day for pasture. Cattle are brought to Santa Rita on boats in September and remain until January.



Curierus is located at a lower elevation on the restinga than the other villages and is completely flooded each year. The total area that the village has available to it is limited since the restinga here is less than a 1,000 meters in width. Curierus is approximately 34 kilometers from Monte Alegre and is approximately four hours by boat. The village has 35 households. There is no electricity, but one-third of the residents have televisions and radios powered by car batteries. Farming in this village is limited to small gardens of squash, melons and beans.

There are many cattle in the western part of the village. A few households have gardens because cattle are permitted to roam freely through this area. A deep stream bed divides the eastern and western ends of the village, keeping cattle out of the eastern end. As a result, residents in the eastern part of the village maintain small plots of watermelon. Musk melons grown in Curierus are sold in Monte Alegre along with fish from the area. One household in Curierus maintains a small herd of water buffalo during the dry season in the far eastern edge of the village. This resident has been under increased pressure in the past few years to give up the buffalo because for four previous years the buffalo completely destroyed crops in the eastern part of the village. This resident now has a heavy fence around her property to eliminate the problem. Parico

Parigo is located three kilometers from Monte Alegre, a journey of 10 to 20

minutes by boat or car. The president of the community believes that the village is more than 200 years old and was established by four French men. They named their village


after their origin Paris which has been translated into Pariqo by the Portuguese. Although, the village is located on the uplands and is never inundated with flood waters, little of this area is cultivated due to the poor soils. The agricultural plots of Pariqo are located on the flood plains and residents travel to them every day by boat or on foot. Some residents choose to set up small temporary houses at their gardens and live there for the five to six months they farm. All of the farmers in this community consider the village their permanent home.

The majority of farmers in this community plant watermelons, or, as an

alternative, meter long green beans. There is little diversity in the crops grown here and the residents all complain bitterly about the low prices they receive for the watermelons. The watermelons are transported by commercial boat lines to Monte Alegre. The village participated in the Pro grama da Vdrzea in 1996. Sapucaia

Sapucaia is located 15 kilometers from Monte Alegre on the Gurubatuba River,

which is a permanent parand of the Amazon River. The village is only accessible by boat and depending on the power of the boat, the journey takes between 40 minutes and two hours. The village is divided into two sections by the parand. One side of the village lies on an island that is completely flooded each year, and the other side lies on the cusp of the upland and flood plain. Parts of the village located on the upland side of the village are high enough to escape seasonal flooding and residents are able to grow perennial crops such as bananas. The residents of this community are growing produce for sale and for subsistence. The Pro grama da Vdrzea in 1995 encouraged cash cropping of


watermelons and musk melons. Of all of the communities visited on the flood plain, the residents of Sapucaia were most involved in producing food for in-house consumption. Some farmers keep cattle in Sapucaia, but the majority are pastured on the uplands for the entire year.

The biophysical and socioeconomic setting is at the heart of the land use practices in Monte Alegre. Farmers have adapted their agricultural practices and crops to the environmental setting and socioeconomic conditions. The physical features of the land and river have a great influence over the types of crops that can be grown, while the economic conditions have influence over the types of crops that are profitably produced. Social factors such as education affect labor availability in farm families, and the programs initiated by governmental and non-governmental organizations encourage particular land use systems. The following chapters address the environmental, social and economic conditions faced by farm families in more detail.


Farmsteads in the Uplands

Seven communities were visited on the uplands for this study (Figure 4. 1).

Upland farmsteads consist of a house, home garden, fields in crops and pasture. Mean area per farm is 43.09 hectares, reflecting the size and number of farms established under the INCRA colonization plan. Most residents, 74.3 percent, have titles to their land (Table 4. 1) and receive agricultural technical assistance from the government. There is an average of five people per household. About one-third of the household members (2.4 people per household) provide labor for the farm. Although farming is by far the most important economic activity, individuals in some households (11.8%) do hold non-farm jobs. Average residence time on the farm is fairly long, 17.4 years.

No architectural plans are followed, however, the majority of the houses in the upland areas have the same basic layout. The house has one main room which serves as the primary living quarters for the family and includes a table and chairs. It is also equipped with metal hooks on the wall so the children can sling their hammocks at night. One bedroom is kept for the head of household, usually the parents, who have a mattress




-- -- - -- a- -1-j

Midd~le communties
11 II

0 lomete's 0 Flood plains

Figure 4.1 Villages visited in the uplands of Monte Alegre by distance


and chest of drawers. The third room in the house is the kitchen. The kitchen has a propane fired stove and a single open window onto the yard. This window has a shelf built into it and is used in the preparation of food, the scraps are thrown into the yard for the small farm animals, such as chickens, ducks, turkeys and the occasional pig. Poorer families cook with charcoal in an outdoor kitchen. Screens are absent from the windows but some homes have glass windows. All windows have wood shutters that are closed at dark to keep the insects out.

Table 4.1 Characteristics of the households Variable Mean
Number of people per household 5.0
Number of people working in the fields 2.4
Number of years in house 17.4
Distance to field Minutes 10.8
Distance to market Hours 2.6
Percent of households with title 74.3
Percent of households with good soils 22.2
Number of cows 21.1
Area in pasture Hectare 22.2
Percent of households with pasture 70.1

Construction materials vary according to the wealth of the individual family, those with little money have thatched roofs, but most have either tin or the more expensive tile roofs (Figure 4.2). The vast majority of houses are built from sawn timber, only a very few are made of mud and dabble. Few of the upland communities have electricity or indoor plumbing. An outhouse or "key" is located at some distance from the house. A


e o



separate enclosed bathing area is either attached to the house or located nearby. The colonists have the more rustic houses while the wealthier farmers have some amenities such as propane lamps and TVs powered by car batteries.

Adjacent to the house is the home garden which includes small farmn animals,

herbs, perennials, ornamental and medicinal plants. The home gardens are used primarily for home consumption and as food for the small farm animals. These permanent home gardens may also serve as experimental plots as the farmer tries new plants before investing in large plantings of an unknown crop.

Fruits are especially important in tropical diets and are the main source of

vitamins and minerals. The most commonly grown fruits are the Amazonian natives murici (Brysanima crassifolia), cashew (Anacardium occidentale), and those originating in Asia such as oranges (Citrus sinensis), mangos (Man gifera indica) and bananas (Musa sp.). Some farmers plant papaya (Carica papaya), banana and citrus (Citrus sp.) in the fields with their annual crops. Although, each farm family has a unique set of perennial and annual crop combinations, over half of the farmers interviewed raised oranges, lime (Citrus aurantifolia), mango, cashew and tangerines (Citrus reticulata). Many other perennial crops are found in the home gardens (Table 4.2). A few farmers reported as many as 22 species included in their home garden but the mean was twelve. A few crop associations were common in the home gardens. Five farmers reported each of the following associations in their gardens: (1) orange, lime, mango, banana and cashew; (2) orange, lime, banana, mango, cashew, murici, tangerine and guava (Psidium guajava); (3) orange, lime, papaya, tangerine and banana. Four farmers reported associations of


orange, lime, mango and aqai (Euterpe oleracea). Few of the farmers interviewed in this study actively protect valuable timber species and none were planting any of these trees for future harvests, which is a common practice in other areas of the Amazon (Smith et al., 1995).

A mean of 25% of land in crop production is devoted to perennials. The

exception is the Japanese who devote more than 95% of their productive land to perennial crops (Table 4.3). Rubber is grown by a small number of Japanese who believe that the market for natural latex continues to grow due to its use in the prevention of the HIV virus, and the resurgence of natural latex in high quality sports equipment and automobile tires. Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is also a speciality crop of the Japanese farmers and is their primary cash crop. Black pepper is sold on the international market through wholesalers in Beldm. Many of the surrounding Brazilian farmers have adopted black pepper but it is a less important cash crop for them and they are limited to selling it in the region due to contamination problems from Salmonella. The Japanese have begun to incorporate rubber into their pepper plantations. They hope that they will gain additional income from latex production and extend the production of the black pepper. The Japanese report that the yields of the black pepper are reduced when interplanted and shaded by the rubber, however, the black pepper produces for an average of two years longer.

The other small farmers do not have more than six hectares devoted to perennial crops and most non-Japanese farmers keep approximately one hectare in perennial crops. These farmers practice slash and bum agriculture, burning their fields during the dry


season from October to December. These fields are used for two to five years then abandoned to fallow, converted to pasture, or planted in perennials. Farmers follow an agricultural schedule as recommended by EMATER (Table 4.4). Most families have five hectares in production at a time. The exceptions are families that have multigenerations farming the same lot and are able to keep more land under production.

The majority of farmers have highly diverse crop assemblages. The number of crops produced varied from three to 22 (Table 4.3). A traditional intercrop of beans (Phaseoulus vulgaris), maize (Zea mays) and squash (Cucurbita sp.) is common throughout the municipality and 15 of the 37 upland farmers interviewed reported that they plant this crop combination (Figure 4.3). Another ten farmers interplant musk melons (Cucumis melo) and watermelon (Citrulus lanatus). Five farmers in this study had interplantings of musk melon, watermelon and maxixe (Cucumis anguria). Maxixe is a small green spiky squash appreciated in beef dishes. Rice (Arroz sativa), manioc (Manihot esculata), tomatoes (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) are grown as monocultures.

The location of individual fields depends primarily on the type of soil on the

farmer's lot. Farmers classify their soils as terra fraca and terra boa, or weak land and good land. Farmers report that crops on terrafraca are stunted and yields are lower compared with those on terra boa, although few of the farmers know what the production is for any of their crops. Farmers further characterize the suitability of the soil for crops based on moisture retention in the wet and dry seasons. Those that are better in the dry season can retain moisture; those that are better in the wet season have good drainage.


Table 4.2 Crops commonly Ed in Monte Alegre Local Name English Name Scientific Name

Abacate Avocado Persea americana

Abacaxi Pineapple Ananas cosmosus

Aqai Aqai Euterpe oleracea

Acerola Barbados cherry Malpighia glabra

Ata Soursop Annona squamosa

Banana Banana Musa sp.

Caju Cashew Anacardium occidental

c6co Coconut Cocos nucifera

Cacao Cocoa Theobroma cacao

Cupuaqu Cupuaqu Theobroma grandiflorum

Dend8 Oil Palm Elaeis guineensis

Gandu Gandu Cajanus cajun

Goiaba Guava Psidium guajava

Graviola Sweet sop Annona muricata

Ingd Inga Inga sp.

Jaca Jackfruit Artocarpus heteropkvilus

Laranja Orange Citrus sinensis

Limdo Lime Citrus aurantifolia

Manga Mango Mangifera indica

Mamdo Papaya Carica papaya

Maracuid Passionfruit Passiflora edulis

Murici Wild Cherry Brysonima crassifolia

Pimenta do Reino Black Pepper Piper nigrum

Pupunha Peach Palm Bactris gasipaes

Seringa Rubber Hevea brasiliensis


Table 4.2 continued _________Local Name English Name Scientific Name

Carambola Star fruit Averrhoa carambola

Tangerina Tangerine Citrus reticulata

Urucum Annatto Bixa orellana

Milho Maize Zea mays

Feijdo Beans Phaseolus vulgaris

Arroz Rice Arroz sativa

Tomate Tomato Lycopersicon lvcopersicum

Macaxeria Manioc Manihot esculata

Aborbora Squash Cucurbita sp.

Cana Sugar cane Saccharum officinarum

Maxixe Maxixe Cucumis anguria

Meldo Musk Melon Cucumis melo

Cebola Onion Allium sp.

Fuma Tobacco Nicotiana tabaccum
*Source: Multilingual Dictionary of Agronomic Plants, S. Rehm, 1994


Table 4.3 Land devoted to perennial crops Hectare Annual Perennials in Number of
Household cropped Perennial (ha) (ha) Percent crops
Sector 15 1 17.7 0.95 16.75 5.36 15
Sector 15 2 3.95 3.95 0 100 21
Sector 15 3 4.89 1 3.89 20.44 21
Sector 154 4.26 -0.5 4.76 -11.73 14
Sector 155 8.15 0.9 7.25 11.04 15
Sector 15 6 6.85 2.6 4.25 37.95 21
Sector 13 1 9.3 0.3 9 3.22 11
Sector 13 2 7.3 0.3 7 4.1 9
Sector 133 8.4 0.4 8 4.76 11
Mulata 1 5.59 1.1 4.49 19.67 16
Mulata 2 10.27 0.65 9.62 6.32 13
Mulata 3 3.23 1.25 1.98 38.69 17
Mulata 4 0.75 0.5 0.25 66.66 12
Mulata 5 1.95 0 1.95 0 8
Mulata 6 12.83 0.4 12.43 3.11 13
Mulata 7 4.48 0.98 3.5 21.87 10
Mulata 8 12.75 0.5 12.25 3.92 14
Mulata 9 1.76 0.1 1.66 5.68 7
Tres Bocas 1 3.5 1.18 2.32 33.71 21
Tres Bocas 2 0.33 0 0.33 0 3
Tres Bocas 3 5.05 1.4 3.65 27.72 15
Tres Bocas 4 13 2 11 15.38 19
Tres Bocas 5 13.65 3.35 10.3 24.54 22
Terra Pretal 4.65 0 4.65 0 15
Terra Preta2 6.15 6.15 0 100 13
Terra Preta3 3.35 0.93 2.42 27.76 14
Terra Preta4 2.82 0.4 2.42 14.18 15
Terra Preta5 1 0 1 0 1
Lin-do 1 22 22 0 100 7
Limio 2 37.1 37.1 0 100 8
Limo 3 31 30 1 96.77 3
Justauria 1 3.3 0 3.3 0 3
Justauria 2 2 0 2 0 2
Justauria 3 2 0 2 0 7
Justauria 4 2.5 0 2.5 0 2
Justauria 5 1.25 0.5 0.75 40 8
Justauria 6 20.55 1.55 19 7.54 19
Average 8.09 3.29 4.8 25.1 12.1





Most farmers have both terra fraca and terra boa but do not know if the land they clear will be good or weak until the forest has been removed and the soils exposed. Once the terra boa is found, the farmer continues to clear the land around that area in hopes of finding additional terra boa. The terra boa is cropped for three to five years In maize, rice, beans, squash and other annual crops. These soils are then planted in perennial crops or left in fallow. Farmers use the terra boa again after the field has rested or had a sufficient fallow period, from eight to twenty years. Terra fraca is usually planted in manioc and abandoned after one or two years. When it is located next to the home it is then planted with grass and used as pasture. If the poor land is located further from the home it is abandoned to fallow and not used again unless no other land is available.

Although manioc is raised on terra fraca because of its tolerance for drought, low nutrient availability, and acidic soils, it is nonetheless a critical component in the farming system. The casa dafarinha, a mud and brick oven with a griddle used to make a gritty flour from manioc (farinha), is a prominent feature of the farmstead (Figure 4.4). Making farinha takes a full day and often involves the entire family and neighbors who use this time to share news and information. The manioc is harvested, brought to the casa dafarinha, peeled then soaked in water. After soaking, the manioc is squeezed or pressed to express the excess water and cyanic acid. The manioc: is then ground. Wealthier farmers have motors to grind the manioc, but most people must grind by hand. The resulting mass is then roasted on the oven until it reaches a granular consistency, a process that usually takes four hours of constant turning and mixing. This farinha is a


0 od




staple in the diet and is also sold. In 1997, a 60-kilogram sack of farinha sold for approximately US $7.00; a small return on a process that takes at least four hours of manufacture.

Pastures are an important component of most farmsteads. Most farmers, 70%, keep cattle and are actively trying to increase their herd size. The small farmers interviewed own a mean of 21 cows and keep a mean of 22 hectares in pasture. or about one hectare per cow. All of the pastures are planted in imported African grasses, kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) and brachiardo (Brachiaria brizantha). Cattle are kept close to the home for protection and to reduce the time needed to milk the cows in the morning. Farmer Interactions with the Outside World

As with so many other characteristics of the Amazon Basin, the heterogenous nature of fanning practices and land use are demonstrated in this case study of Monte Alegre. Each farm family is unique and is guided by their perceptions and desires to meet their subsistence and income needs. Each family has a unique set of agricultural crops, a variety of intercropped production systems, and unique set of crops they are producing for sale.

Farmers are motivated by subsistence and economic needs. Their decisions

regarding the crops they produce are influenced by these needs (Table 4.4). More than 65% of households consume their produce and sell the remainder. More than 80% of farmers interviewed were actively involved in the local market. Additionally, the majority of farmers (69%) conserve their produce until the prices are sufficiently high to sell. Farmers (86%) also conserve some of their produce as seed for the following year's cropping. At the same time, 68% of farmers reported that they purchase some of their


seed stock from the feed and seed stores in Monte Alegre.

Some farmers (12%) work off-farm to supplement their incomes. Farmers

reported various reasons for doing so including the wish to raise capital to expand their cattle herd, the need for cash to purchase medicine for their sick children, and to work for relatives that own shops in Monte Alegre. Table 4.4 Farmer interactions with the marketplace Variable Mean
Percent of produce consumed in-house 65.7
Percent of produce sold_ 34.3
Percent of households selling produce 81.9
Percent of households using chemicals 36.1
Percent of households conserving produce 69.4
Percent of households purchasing seed 68.8
Percent of households conserving seed 86.8
Percent of households with jobs out of agriculture 11.8

The majority of upland farmers (71 %) grow and sell maize as their primary cash crop (Table 4.5). In addition to maize, other annual crops are produced widely for sale including rice (58%), beans (69%) and manioc (25%). Ninety percent of all of the small farmers' income is generated by these four crops.

Fruits and other perishable agricultural crops are not being produced widely for the market but are instead used by the household (Table 4.6). Sixty four percent of the farmers are growing lime but do not sell it, and over half of the farmers are growing cashew and tangerines, but do not sell the produce.


Strateizies for Subsistence and Income Generation

Annual crops such as rice, beans and manioc form the staples of the Amazonian diet. They are grown by the majority of farmers for consumption within the household and for the market. However, subsistence production remains the primary concern for many of the farmers on the uplands. They must assure enough labor is devoted to producing crops for home consumption before they devote labor to income generation.

The primary market for the municipality is located in Monte Alegre however, farmers are not assured of prices at the market until they arrive. Farmers produce crops that they know that they can sell despite the price they receive. Grains and pulses that are durable and easily transportable are the primary market crops for the upland farmers. In 1997, a 60-kilogram. sack of maize fetched US $ 8.00 in Monte Alegre. The agricultural cooperative has been instrumental in spreading maize throughout the municipality. However, the cooperative is not the only merchant within the municipality that specializes in this crop. A large number of wholesalers have established themselves in Monte Alegre to sell maize, so the small farmer has a number of alternative locations where his crop can be sold. Many of these wholesalers also lend money to farmers in return for a share of the crop.

A critical factor to farmers is the marketability of their agricultural produce. The low value of fruit compared with the transportation cost is the primary reason cited by farmers for their lack of involvement in marketing fruit. A dozen oranges are purchased for US$ 0.30 by wholesalers and are resold for US$ 0.50. But the cost of transport ($ 1.00) for passage for one person plus cargo does not make the sale profitable. Another reason farmers do not sell much of their fruit may be the small numbers of trees per farm


Table 4.5 Crops t at are grown and sold Percent of
Number of farmers Number of Percent of farmers
farmers growing growing farmers selling who grow selling
Manioc 32 86 8 25
Orange 31 84 3 10
Beans 29 78 20 69
Maize 28 75 20 71
Mango 24 63 1 4
Rice 24 65 14 58
Banana 21 55 1 5
Watermelon 18 48 3 17
Papaya 16 45 1 6
Squash 15 40 2 13
Guava 13 35 1 8
Maxixe 12 32 0 0
Melon 11 29 1 9
Coconut 11 32 1 9
Avocado 9 24 1 11
Pineapple 9 24 1 11
Coffee 5 13 2 40
Cane 7 19 1 14
Green Beans 6 16 1 3
Passion fruit 6 16 2 33
Black pepper 6 16 3 50
Tomato 6 16 1 17
Rubber 3 5 3 100


Table 4.6 Crops grown on but not sold
Number of farmers Percent of farmers Number of growing growing farmers selling
Lime 24 64 0
Cashew 20 54 0
Tangerine 19 51 0
Maxixe 12 32 0
Sweet sop 8 21 0
Murici 7 19 0
Acai 6 16 0
Peach Palm 6 16 0
IngA 6 16 0
Cupuaqu 6 16 0
Star fruit 2 5 0
Onions 2 5 0
Barbados Cherry 2 5 0
Cacao 2 5 0
Annatto 1 3 0
Ata 1 3 0
Jackfruit 1 3 0
Tobacco 1 3 0
Gandu 1 0


planted in any particular fruit.

Home gardens are a vital part of the individual farmer's risk management strategy by adding diversity and important nutrients to the family diet. Agroforestry is being promoted through governmental and non-governmental programs. However, evidence from this case study suggests that agroforestry in Monte Alegre will be limited to home gardens. Agroforestry will not become the income generating mechanism that has been hoped for by the government. In order for agroforestry systems to become a large part of income generation in Monte Alegre, farmers will have to adopt higher value fruits and timber products. The formation of a cooperative that has proper transportation and facilities to process the fruits and nuts that are currently produced may help increase the value of agroforestry products sufficiently.

Agricultural Intensification

The measure of agricultural intensification combines nine variables believed to be important in a farmer's ability to intensify his agriculture. Agricultural intensification on the uplands is low with a mean value of 0.36 (Table 4.7). In the land-rich Amazonian setting, little intensification is expected due to the area involved in agricultural production in relation to the area available for further expansion. However there are a number of push and pull factors are leading to intensification in this environment. Pushing intensification is the increased population, and division of land holdings among land owners. Farmers must utilize their labor more productively on smaller holdings. Involvement in the marketplace is pulling farmers into intensifying their agricultural


practices. As farmers generate more cash, they are able to invest in outside inputs, such as chemical amendments to the soils. They can also hire outside labor to work in the cash crop systems. However, the biophysical environment limits the farmer's ability to intensify his agriculture. Small farmers cannot afford the chemical inputs necessary to increase productivity in those areas where the soils have been used for generations with few inputs.

Regardless of the individual conditions that farmers face in their agricultural

systems, all of them are motivated to employ particular land use and agricultural practices based on their strategies on meeting household needs, income generation and leisure time.

Driving Forces Behind Land Use and Azficultural Practices

This study seeks to examine the role of the driving forces in farmers'

decision making processes in regard to the problems they face, the factors contributing to crop selection, and what they believe would be most important in raising their standard of living. Farmers reported that the economic factors were the greatest problem that they faced in their agricultural pursuits (Table 4.8). Seventy-two percent stated that the low price for agricultural goods is the greatest problem, and 42% stated that access to markets is also a problem. Social factors such as injuries and illness are rarely a problem. Labor availability was reported to be rarely a problem by 36%, but another 47% reported it usually a problem. Farmers also stated that environmental factors such as precipitation and access to quality seeds and seedlings are not usually a problem.


Table 4.7 Land use intensity and intensification Total
hectare Hectare Land
Households planted owned intensity Intensification Index
Sector 15 1 17.45 100 0.17 0.35
Sector 15 2 4.05 100 0.04 0.23
Sector 15 3 4.94 100 0.04 0.23
Sector 15 4 4.26 100 0.04 0.24
Sector 15 5 8.15 100 0.08 0.32
Sector 15 6 6.65 100 0.06 0.23
Sector 13 1 9.75 100 0.09 0.2
Sector 13 2 7.3 100 0.07 0.23
Sector 13 3 8.4 100 0.08 0.27
Mulata 1 5.44 15 0.36 0.46
Mulata 2 10.17 15 0.67 0.77
Mulata 3 3.33 3 1.11 0.57
Mulata 4 0.65 1 0.65 0.3
Mulata 5 1.95 5 0.39 0.37
Mulata 6 12.93 90 0.14 0.29
Mulata 7 4.98 2 2.49 0.51
Mulata 8 12.65 50 0.25 0.39
Mulata 9 1.76 5 0.35 0.55
Tres Bocas 1 3.5 5 0.7 0.42
Tres Bocas 2 0.33 6.6 0.05 0.31
Tres Bocas 3 5.15 5 1.03 0.62
Tres Bocas 4 13 66 0.19 0.35
Tres Bocas 5 14.55 39 0.37 0.3
Terra Pretal 4.65 5 0.93 0.44
Terra Preta2 7.15 11 0.65 0.43
Terra Preta3 3.35 25 0.13 0.56
Terra Preta4 2.72 25 0.1 0.62
Terra Preta5 1 3 0.33 0.71
Limio 1 23 100 0.23 0.29
LimAio 2 39 100 0.39 0.36
Limlo 3 31 100 0.31 0.47
Jusaratuia 1 3.3 3.3 1 0.4
Jusaratuia 2 2 5 0.4 0.22
Jusaratuia 3 2 2 1 0.25
Jusaratuia 4 2.5 6.6 0.37 0.19
Jusaratuia 5 1.35 1 1.35 0.4
Jusaratuia 6 20.05 76 0.26 0.22
Means 7.89 43.09 0.46 0.38


Table 4.8 Farmer responses regarding problem s faced by farmers
Category Low (%) Medium (%) High
Pest E 25.00 33.00 42.00
Seeds E 56.00 25.00 19.00
Rain E 56.00 36.00 8.00
Drought E 25.00 39.00 36.00
Injury S 94.00 0.00 6.00
Worker S 36.00 17.00 47.00
Illness S 54.00 35.00 12.00
Transport C 49.00 23.00
Prices C 11.00 17.00 72.00
IMarkets----t- C 1 33.00 1 25.00 1 42.00 1

Farmers were also asked if certain factors were important in their decisions when they selected the types of crops they grew (Table 4.9). When making choices about their crop types, 78% report that it is very important that they be able to consume the produce within the house. Additionally, 57% state that it is very important that they be able to sell their produce. The time of planting was ranked as not important (47%), and considerations of crop diseases are also of low importance (40%).

Farmers were asked which services or goods would make their life better (Table

4. 10). Additional money was naturally the highest ranked of these factors. However, farmers believed that technology (64%) and better markets (64%) would raise their standards of living. The majority of farmers, 67%, stated that they did not want or need additional lands. Agricultural cooperatives were noted for their importance; but, farmers responded similarly across the rankings as to the degree of the cooperative's importance.


Table 4.9 Farmer res onses to importance of factors 1 crop selection Category, Low (%) Medium (%) High
Use C 17.00 6.00 78.00
Market C 17.00 42.00 42.00
Production C 17.00 42.00 42.00
Sell C 24.00 19.00 57.00
Prices C 43.00 22.00 35.00
Plant E 47.00 8.00 44.00
Disease E 40.00 43.00 17.00
Seeds E 29.00 29.00 43.00
Soils E 23.00 37.00 40.00

Table 4. 10 Farmers perceptions on factors that would contribute to a better standard of iving
Category Low (%) Medium (%) High (%)
Technology S 11.00 25.00 64.00
Coop S 38.00 32.00 29.00
Money C 3.00 11.00 86.00
Markets C 25.00 11.00 64.00
Production E 43.00 26.00 31.00
Land E 67.00 11.00 22.00

A chi-square test (a = 0.05) was used to determine if the responses to the survey

questions are reported with equal frequency in regard to the categories of environmental,

economic and social (Appendix Q. The results indicate that there were significant

differences between the responses. Farmers do not view each driving force equally, they

are making their decisions based on the economic, social, and environmental driving

factors that they encounter.

The economic variables are the strongest factors behind farmers' selection of

crops (Table 4.11). The greatest problems faced by farmers on the uplands are economic