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Brazil

World bank, 2019
Poverty headcount ratio at $5.50 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population)
20%
Population below international poverty line

Equivalent to 1,100 Brazilian Reals per worker per month.
WageIndicator Foundation, 2021

173
per month
National minimum wage

Equivalent to 1,650 Brazilian reales per worker per month.
Global Living Wage Coalition, 2019

260
per month
Rural living wage
World bank, 2019
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
9%
Agricultural workforce
World bank, 2020
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
6%
Agriculture share of GDP

ITUC Global Rights Index, 2021
No guarantee of rights

5
very high
Risk to workers' rights

Context

The population of Brazil is around 212 million people.[1] The country is highly urbanised with 87% of its population living in cities[2] and only 13% in rural areas.[3] Agriculture accounts for 5.9% of Brazil’s GDP[4] and it is estimated that 9% of the population is employed in this sector.[5]

Since the 1970s, the number of large-scale, commercial farms has continued to increase, and smallholders are estimated to account for 20% of all farmers in Brazil. Nearly 45% of Brazil’s agricultural land is held by the largest 1% of Brazil’s farms; a reflection of the structural problem of land distribution in Brazil.[6]

The top grown agricultural commodities in Brazil are sugar cane, soybeans, maize, fresh milk and cassava.[7] Brazil’s top export commodities in terms of quantity commodities are soybeans, maize, soybeans cake, raw sugar, chicken meat and green coffee.[8]

Footnotes
  1. ^ World Bank (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=BR
  2. ^ World Bank (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.URB.TOTL.IN.ZS?locations=BR
  3. ^ World Bank (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.RUR.TOTL.ZS?locations=BR
  4. ^ World Bank. (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NV.AGR.TOTL.ZS?locations=BR
  5. ^ World Bank. (2019). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.AGR.EMPL.ZS?locations=BR
  6. ^ FAO. (2015). The economic lives of smallholder farmers. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5251e.pdf
  7. ^ FAOSTAT. (2019). http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#rankings/commodities_by_country
  8. ^ FAOSTAT. (2019). http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#rankings/commodities_by_country_exports

Wages

Minimum wage

In Brazil there is a government mandated minimum wage. As of January 2021, the general minimum wage for Brazil is 1,100 Brazilian Reals  (173 EUR) per month.[1] Minimum wage for agricultural work varies, with the lowest minimum wage for agricultural work at 998 Brazilian Reals (157 EUR) per month.[2] Employers who fail to comply with the national minimum wage are subject to punishment by the government, however, thus far such penalties have not been proven to be successful in ensuring employer compliance.[3]

Living wage

The Global Living Wage Coalition has developed 2 Living Wage Benchmarks based on the Anker methodology, one for Minas Gerais, rural Brazil and one for São Paulo State, non-metropolitan Brazil.

The Global Living Wage Coalition has estimated the living wage for Minas Gerais South/Southwestern Region of rural Brazil to be 2,271 Brazilian Reals per month (357 EUR). This number is based on a family of 4 with 1.71 workers.[4] Theliving wage benchmarkprovides context in the rural coffee growing regions of Southern Brazil. The Minas Gerais Southern and Southwestern mesoregion is the world leader in coffee production and is responsible for 24% of Brazil’s coffee production, most of which is exported.[5] Accordingly, the living wage report uses prevailing wages in the coffee sector for comparison with the estimated living wage. At the time of the study, the gap between the estimated gross living wage and the lowest agricultural minimum wage was roughly 50%. The gap with the average prevailing wages for coffee workers in this region (who live mostly in urban areas) was roughly 20%.[6]

The Global Living Wage Coalition has developed a living wage benchmark for the non-metropolitan areas of São Paulo State in Brazil. The estimated living wage, to afford a basic but decent standard of living for a family of 4 with 1.68 workers, is 2,710 Brazilian reals (426 EUR) per month[7]The living wage benchmark focusses on the citrus belt region, but is applicable to all workers living in the non-metropolitan urban areas of the State of São Paulo. The State of São Paulo is one of the main economic hubs of the country, concentrating 33% of the national GDP. It is responsible for 75% of orange production in Brazil and approximately 60% of the world exports of orange juice. Compared to current wages in the orange sector, the living wage is 84% higher than the prevailing wage for registered orange pickers and 24% higher than the prevailing wage for machine workers. The gap is even larger if we compare the living wage with the national minimum wage, since the living wage is estimated to be 2.4 times higher.
Footnotes
  1. ^ WageIndicator Foundation. (2020). https://wageindicator.org/salary/minimum-wage/brazil/23075-general-minimum-wage
  2. ^ WageIndicator Foundation. (2020). https://wageindicator.org/salary/minimum-wage/brazil/23077-agriculture-fishery-food-manufacturing
  3. ^ U.S. Department of State. (2019). https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/brazil/
  4. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2021).https://www.globallivingwage.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Updatereport_Brazil_Southern-Minas-Gerais_July2021-Final.pdf
  5. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2018). https://www.globallivingwage.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Living_Wage_Benchmark_Report_Brazil.pdf
  6. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2018). https://www.globallivingwage.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Living_Wage_Benchmark_Report_Brazil.pdf
  7. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition (2021). Updated Living Wage Report-Non-Metropolitan Brazil: State of São Paulo. https://www.globallivingwage.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Updatereport_Brazil_State-of-Sao-Paulo_February2021-Final.pdf

Working conditions

Land use & property rights

Issues of land distribution are prominent and historical in Brazil. The Landless Workers’ Movement was founded in 1970 to advocate for land rights for peasants and smallholder farmers. Between 1995 and 2010 the government of Brazil redistributed more than 80 million hectares of land to farming families. However, even with this large-scale redistribution effort issues of land access are still widespread today. While smallholders defend their right to land, large plantations account for more than 6 million hectares in Brazil and are a major source of displacement and resource conflicts. After the 2016 election of President Bolsonaro many public policies designed to support smallholder farmers were reversed. Hence, many smallholder families in Brazil are still waiting for land reform to redistribute land to them.[1]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil launched an emergency agrarian reform calling for the immediate creation of jobs and the production of food to ensure income and dignity for families in Brazil.[2]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Oxfam (2016). Unearthed: Land, Power and Inequality in Latin America. https://www-cdn.oxfam.org/s3fs-public/file_attachments/bp-land-power-inequality-latin-america-301116-en.pdf
  2. ^ Movement of the Landless (2020). https://mstbrazil.org/
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What's happening

resource

Updated Living Wage Benchmark, rural Brazil

Updated living wage estimate for Minas Gerais South/Southwestern Region of Brazil focussing on coffee production. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2021.

resource

Updated Living Wage Benchmark, Non-Metropolitan Brazil

Updated living wage estimate for the State of São Paulo, Brazil focussing on orange production in the citrus belt. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2020.

resource

Living Wage Benchmark, rural Brazil

Living wage estimate for Minas Gerais South/Southwestern Region of Brazil focussing on coffee production. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2019.

resource

Living Wage Benchmark, Non-Metropolitan Brazil

Living wage estimate for the State of São Paulo, Brazil focussing on orange production in the citrus belt. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2020.

initiative

Improving Living Conditions of Coffee Farmers

Global Coffee Platform collective action initiative aims at improving working conditions, including wages, in the Brazilian coffee sector.

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