Mato Grosso represents a world agricultural power. With an area of more than 900 thousand square kilometers, the state is Brazil’s leading producer of soy, corn, cotton and cattle. In just over a decade, the state's GDP increased from 12.3 billion reais (1999) to 137.44 billion reais (2018), a growth driven mainly by agriculture, the state’s principal economic activity.
The state is the largest national producer of cereals, legumes and oilseeds, with 67.5 million tons (Conab, 2019), which correspond to 28% of Brazilian total production. Together, soybeans, with 32.4 million tons, and corn, with 31.3 million tons, account for more than 90% of the country’s total production, and covered an area of more than 15 million hectares in the 2019/2020 crop.
Mato Grosso also leads the production of beef, with 1.2 million tons (IMEA, 2018) and has a relevant participation in the production of sugar cane and cotton. These figures contribute to the state being, currently, the national leading exporter in the agribusiness sector, having reached the mark of USD 16.6 billion in 2019 (MDIC, 2019), which accounts for 17.3% of the national total.
Mato Grosso is also a territory of relatively recent occupation. Deforestation reached high levels in the early 2000s, however it has reduced considerably since 2004 due to public and private initiatives. Today, although over 60% of the land is occupied by native vegetation; controlling illegal deforestation remains a challenge.
Agricultural, livestock and timber production are expected to grow significantly; however there are opportunities for the expansion of production to occur both by productivity gains and by the use of areas already consolidated. According to a survey by Agroicone, Mato Grosso has about 14 million areas of pasture that are apt for agriculture, of a total area of 23.7 million hectares of pastures with an average productivity of 1.25 head/hectare.
At the same time, there are also challenges for socio-productive inclusion. More than 50% of the Gross Value Added (GVA) in the state is concentrated in only 20 of its 141 municipalities, according to the assessment by the State Plan for Family Agriculture - PEAF MT.
The State of Mato Grosso is home to 81,635 holdings belonging to family farming, which represent 69% of the state’s total rural holdings. The areas of rural settlements added to areas with up to four fiscal modules, typical of family farming, account for 14% of the state's territory, and considering indigenous lands (15.4% of the state's territory), the result is that almost 30% of the state's territory is occupied by family, settled and indigenous farmers.
The Produce, Conserve and Include (PCI) Strategy seeks to integrate objectives regarding agriculture production, environmental conservation and social inclusion.