ACES hosts Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa)

Guy de Capdeville, Embrapa’s executive director of research and development stands by the poster advertising his lecture.

To further the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) collaborations with colleagues in Brazil towards a shared goal of food security, the Office of International Programs hosted distinguished visitors from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) in October.

As a public research, development, and innovation company, Embrapa has been tasked with providing Brazil with food security and a leading position in the international market for food, fiber, and energy. Learn more about Embrapa.

Guy de Capdeville, Embrapa’s executive director of research and development, spoke to an audience of Illinois students, faculty, and staff about how the organization’s innovative programs have helped Brazil.   

“We are not magicians; science is the basis of what we have done,” de Capdeville said.

De Capdeville talked about Embrapa's mission-oriented principles that focus on the delivery of new technologies in the tropical belt, a challenging area for agriculture.  

As part of Brazil’s National Agricultural Research Systems, Embrapa works directly with the 17 state agricultural research organizations and universities that filter knowledge to the private sector.

“Because Embrapa is 100% government funded and does not sell but only transfers technology, we must prove ‘social profit,"’ de Capdeville said.

Some of the company’s most recent achievements include:

  • 93 breeding programs that have produced more using fewer inputs.
  • World-record-breaking productivity for irrigated wheat in the savannah
  • New grape varieties adapted to the semiarid region
  • Production of organic carbon maps
  • Drought-resistant bacteria
  • Low-carbon milk production

Several studies for lower carbon production are currently in process, including for coffee, cotton, leather, and calves.

Priorities for international collaboration

Bruno Brasil, superintendent of strategy for Embrapa, spoke to the audience about the company’s 2030 strategic plan that is focused on sustainability, adaptability to climate change, and digital agriculture, and about specific outlets for collaborating with the University of Illinois.

Currently, Illinois researchers are working with Embrapa on five projects focused on precision agriculture.

Brasil noted that researcher exchanges, including longer and shorter visits are possible mechanisms for cooperation. Specific agreements and funding calls of interest to Illinois may also be coming in the future.

“Several of our faculty and research groups had extremely productive meetings with Embrapa, and we are planning for future collaborations. Faculty and graduate students should watch our office’s biweekly announcements for future calls for proposals,” noted Mary Arends-Kuenning,