Questions and Answers

The term is the name of the region formed by the Brazilian state of Tocantins and some parts of the states of Maranhão, Piauí and Bahia.

The delimitation was carried out by the Strategic Territorial Intelligence Group of Embrapa (GITE), that used as the first great criterion the Cerrado areas of the states. It was based on numerical, iconographic, and cartographic information, resulting in the territorial characterization of the natural, agrarian, agricultural, and socio-economical frameworks.

According to the study, there are about 73 million hectares spread across 31 micro-regions and 337 municipalities. Around 324 thousand agricultural establishments, 46 conservation units, 35 indigenous lands and 781 agrarian reform settlements and quilombo areas exist in the area, a total of about 14 million hectares of areas legally assigned, in addition to conservation areas still being regularized.

The agricultural activity has expanded quickly in Matopiba. In the last four years, the state of Tocantins alone expanded its planted area at the rate of 25% per year, according to data by the National Supply Company (Conab). Until 2022, according to projections by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (Mapa), Brazil will plant about 70 million hectares of crops, and the expansion of agriculture will continue further in the Cerrado biome. Only the region comprising the states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia will have, in the same period, the total of 10 million hectares, which represents 16.4% of the planted area. The expectation is that between 18 to 24 million tons of grain will be produced, an average increase of 27.8%.

Currently, there are 73 research projects and technology transfer in execution in the region, funded by the Embrapa Management System (SEC). Twenty-seven Decentralized Units are involved in the leadership of those projects, which mobilizes 1440 employees, of which 1114 are researchers, 278 are analysts and 48 are assistants and technicians. Besides that, there are also 580 external partners.

The largest part of the budget (59%) is intended for genetic improvement. On this theme, soybean deserves to be highlighted: 39% of resources (the equivalent of about 26.8 million BRL) are invested in research involving this crop. The theme of soy production systems also stands out, getting 27% of total resources. Regarding transversal themes, fertilization and climate change, together, reach 60% of the budget. On the subject of technology transfer, the projects with greater financial contribution are those involving water resources, followed by those involving agriculture and ICLFS.

Embrapa is developing a strategic plan of action in Matopiba, with the purpose of strengthening the technological and innovation development for the region. In this work, climate risk analysis, characterization of the socio-economic point of view, identification of problems and opportunities are provided for, among other actions.

But despite the territorial delimitation being recent, researchers have already studied the region for some time to find the best sustainable alternatives. At Embrapa, a project arrangement is in progress, led by Embrapa Fisheries and Aquaculture, located in Palmas (TO). The goal is to plan strategies to increase productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability in the agricultural production systems of Matopiba.

The Matopiba Regional Development Agency was recently opened. The idea is to promote the development of the region, aiming at raising the quality of life of the population. As the last agricultural frontier region of the country, Matopiba is strategic for the rise of small local producers and to increase Brazil's agricultural production and exportation. This justifies the need to invest in technology and technical assistance.