Centenary of the Census of Agriculture

Census of Agriculture celebrates its 100th anniversary portraying the history of the sector in the country

Section: IBGE | Umberlândia Cabral | Design: Jessica Cândido e João Carlos Rodrigues

September 01, 2020 01h00 PM | Last Updated: September 08, 2020 12h42 PM

  • At a glance

  • First conducted in September 1920, the Census of Agriculture is the main and most comprehensive statistical and territorial survey on Brazilian agricultural production.
  • The information produced by the survey makes it possible to plan and assess public policies in the sector.
  • In the period of 100 years, the Census of Agriculture has followed the technological change in farming and has also been modernized.
  • The first Census of Agriculture was conducted by the General Statistics Directorate - DGE, a body of the former Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Trade. After this pioneering operation, there were 10 more editions, the last one in 2017, totaling 11 Censuses.
  • In the 2006 Census of Agriculture, electronic data collection devices - PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) were used for the first time, replacing paper questionnaires and collecting the geographical coordinates of agricultural establishments.
  • In the 2017 edition, Mobile Collection Devices (DMC) were used, in which there were the previous address files and georeferenced systems.
  • The Family Agriculture Law, 2006, was established based on a methodology developed by researchers from the Federal Fluminense University (UFF) for the Census of Agriculture to portray family agriculture more adequately.

From a family establishment of tomato farming in a rural area of a small town to a big cattle raising farm: nothing escapes the Census of Agriculture. The reality of the countryside is portrayed by the survey that goes on 100 years old this Tuesday (Sept 1). The Census of Agriculture is the main and most comprehensive statistical and territorial survey on the Brazilian agricultural production, covering information on the structure, dynamics and production level of this economic activity in Brazil.

The information produced makes it possible to plan and assess public policies in the sector, as for instance, the land distribution issue. The results also support studies on the expansion of agricultural areas and the producing dynamics propelled by technological innovations; moreover, they contribute to the construction of environmental indicators, while providing analyses on the changes occurred due to economic reestructuring and adjustments, as well as their effect on the sector.

The first Census of Agriculture was conducted by the General Statistics Directorate - DGE, a body of the former Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Trade. After this pioneering operation, there were 10 more editions, the last one in 2017, totaling 11 Censuses of Agriculture. The IBGE has been in charge of the operation since the foundation of the Institute in 1936. “And in all those years the IBGE has been present and taken part in the transformations, providing quality data for more and more efficient and effective goals and public policies”, recognizes the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Tereza Cristina, who sent a congratulatory note to the IBGE.

Authorities and organizations of the sector congratulate the IBGE for the Census of Agriculture's centenary:

Within this period of 100 years, the Census of Agriculture was always in line with the technological changes in farming and has become modern too – either in the themes addressed and in the technologies used today for the survey conduction. In the decade after the first survey, due to the political issues that culminated in the Revolution of 1930s, the Census of Agriculture was not carried out. “As of the 1940s, it became a decennial survey. In 1970, it was carried out every five years, with editions in 1970, 1975, 1980 and 1985. It should have gone on like this, but as of 1985, there were financial issues that compromised the process. So, it was carried out just in 1995-1996, 2006 and 2017”, says Anntonio Carlos Florido, IBGE retired researcher, who stood ahead of the Census of Agriculture in its last three editions.

Mr. Florido started working in the Agri Census at the age of 25, as soon as he started at the IBGE, in 1977. The 1975 edition was at the beginning of the counting phase. “Basically, when I joined the IBGE, the questionnaire was in paper, it was hard work because all the material was collected and brought to Rio de Janeiro, so it took from five to six years to release the results. In the 1995 Census, although the questionnaire was still in paper, there was a big advance with the counting decentralization, which was done in locally in each state simultaneously”, recollects Mr. Florido.