Case Study

New realities: Brasilagro and the agribusiness sector in Brazil

9 pages
December 2015
Reference: IMD-7-1503

The BrasilAgro case story explores whether a pioneer in agricultural production in Brazil that has rapidly become a major holder of farmland can become a template of global agrarian capitalism by increasing its exposure to a widening international pool of financial investors. BrasilAgro, which is controlled by Cresud from Argentina, was the first publicly listed company active in farmland acquisition on the “Novo Mercado” segment of the São Paulo Stock Exchange (2006). In 2012 it also became the first Brazilian agribusiness company to list American Deposit Receipts (ADR) on the New York Stock Exchange. The acquisition by financial firms of land with agricultural potential in emerging and developing markets is a global trend that has gained momentum since the turn of the century. Some have seen this trend as an opportunity to draw capital and reverse underinvestment in agricultural production while fostering technological transfer. Others see this as a trend that could lead to conflict over land and environmental degradation and that will tend to accentuate inequality. Brazil is at the forefront of this debate, having become one of the principal recipients of international financial investment in farmland. The BrasilAgro model of acquisition, development, operation and sale of large-scale agricultural properties adds value for its shareholders by transforming land, making it productive, generating high-volume production and fostering the price appreciation of rural properties. Its transparent and compliant approach places BrasilAgro in the lead from a corporate governance perspective compared to many ventures seeking to exploit farming potential in Brazil’s new agricultural frontier (the tropical savannah known as the Cerrado). The model is highly efficient and generates economic value in response to rising global demand for food, feed and fuel. But at what social and environmental cost? Long term, can BrasilAgro maintain its profitability and expand while holding true to beneficial social and environmental norms? In other words, does its business model provide a new standard for effective agricultural development and commodity production in developing economies or is it just another example of successful real estate speculation with limited lessons for other economies?

Learning Objective

Using a detailed description and analysis of Cremaq Farm’s operations as an example – BrasilAgro’s largest rural property in asset valuation, capital expenditure, planted area and cash flow – we can directly assess some of the positive and negative externalities associated with this innovative model of rural development in Brazil.

Keywords
Agribusiness, Agricultural Development, Agriculture, Farming, Business Model, Developing Economy, Social Responsibility, Investment Opportunity
Settings
Latin America, Brazil
BrasilAgro, Food Production, Agriculture
2012-2013
Type
Field Research
Copyright
© 2015
Available Languages
English
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