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mar 01, 2018
Innovation and technology

Massive mapping project to benefit Brazilian agribusiness

A huge undertaking to map Brazilian soil, the largest of its kind in the country’s history, is set to bring about significant advantages to the agribusiness sector. The National Program of Soils in Brazil (Pronasolos) was instituted on December 5, 2017, World Soil Day, with 20 different Brazilian institutions (among them universities and geographical agencies) signing a letter of intent to investigate, document, collect and interpret data on Brazil’s soil, with a view to its conservation and management.

The project is slated to run for the next 30 years and is the largest pedological survey ever to be conducted in Brazil.

The data obtained from Pronasolos is set to be of use for a large number of different sectors, from climate control to the management of water resources, while agribusiness is set to benefit significantly. With a better notion of the characteristics and qualities of soil, the agricultural industry will be able to use land more intelligently and design more sustainable and efficient cropping systems, with a view to ensuring food security and promoting sustainable farming.

José Carlos Polidoro, one of the coordinators of Pronasolos and a researcher of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), a signatory of the letter of intent, is adamant that the survey will produce a significant financial return for the country. "We need to take care of the soil in a strategic manner," he said.

“In Brazil, the literature suggests that the return-on-investment ratio could be one to 185 on scales from 1:50,000 upwards," explained Polidoro, meaning that for each Real invested in Pronasolos, Brazil could expect to see BRL 185.00 in return.

Among the other institutions involved in Pronasolos include the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), as well as federal universities from Goiás, Rio Grande do Sul, Amazônia and Rio de Janeiro.