Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES)
Cássio Arruda Boechat is Professor at the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES), Department of Geography, Brazil. He is the head of the Laboratory of Territorial Studies. He has a PhD in Human Geography from the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil and a postdoctorate from the Université de Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès, LISST-Dynamiques Rurales, France. He is a member of the Study Group on Social Change, Agribusiness and Public Policies (GEMAP, Grupo de Mudança Social, Agronegócio e Políticas Públicas), Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, UFRRJ), Brazil.
University of São Paulo (USP)
Fábio Teixeira Pitta is an Assistant Researcher in the Geography Department at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil and Coordinator of International Projects at Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Social Network for Justice and Human Rights). He has a master’s degree and PhD on the financialisation of the sugar cane agro-industry in Brazil in recent years, and a postdoctorate on the current Brazilian financial crisis. He has been studying the Matopiba agribusiness frontier in Brazil for over ten years.
São Paulo State University (UNESP)
Lorena Izá Pereira has a PhD in Geography from São Paulo State University (UNESP) and a postdoctoral degree from the Federal University of Paraíba (Universidade Federal da Paraíba, UFPB), Brazil. She is a Researcher at the Land Matrix Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean (LM-LAC) and at the Center for Studies, Research and Agrarian Reform Projects (Núcleo de Estudos, Pesquisas e Projetos de Reforma Agrária, NERA/ UNESP). She is also the President of the Association of Brazilian Geographers (AGB) (2020–22).
University of São Paulo
Carlos de Almeida Toledo graduated in Economics (1997) from the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil. He has a master’s degree in Geography (Human Geography) from USP (2001), and a Doctorate in Geography (Human Geography) from USP (2008). He is a Doctor Professor of Geography in the Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences (Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas, FFLCH), USP, holding discussions on the following themes: territory, region, and national state, migration, labour mobility, economic politics criticism, and imperialism criticism.
Published: February 2, 2023
This article explores how the agricultural frontier in Brazil is conceived and how it has been historically shaped by broader socioeconomic changes. It considers the planning process linked to the Cerrado occupation during the military dictatorship (1964–85). The article analyses understandings of the frontier that connected it to concerns about ‘demographic gaps’ and shaped an agenda of state-led ‘national integration’ that neglected local populations. This analysis is linked to recent transnational real estate activities in Matopiba to document how control over the territory persists but is now driven by different protagonists and logics. We document how Brazilian agribusinesses, in association with transnational capital, have created transnational agricultural real estate companies and acquired land in frontier areas such as Matopiba. Although the violence of expropriation and deforestation persists, there are new financial mechanisms that condition the agricultural frontier and exert control over territory, quite unlike previous forms of state-led occupation.
Este artigo analisa como a fronteira agrícola no Brasil é concebida e como ela tem sido moldada historicamente por mudanças socioeconômicas mais amplas. O artigo considera o processo de planejamento ligado à ocupação do Cerrado durante a ditadura militar (1964–85). Ele analisa as concepções de fronteira conectadas a preocupações sobre “lacunas demográficas” e que influenciaram a agenda de “integração nacional” conduzida pelo Estado que negligenciou as populações locais. O artigo analisa ainda as recentes atividades imobiliárias transnacionais no Matopiba para documentar como o controle sobre o território persiste, mas tem agora diferentes protagonistas e motivações. Documentamos como as agroindústrias brasileiras, em associação com o capital transnacional, criaram empresas imobiliárias agrícolas transnacionais e adquiriram terras em áreas fronteiriças como o Matopiba. Embora a violência da expropriação e do desmatamento persista, existem novos mecanismos financeiros que condicionam a fronteira agrícola e exercem controle sobre o território, assumindo formas de ocupação bem diferentes das anteriormente lideradas pelo Estado.