In Brazil, we call “vegetable” any short-cycled edible plant whose production is labor-intensive. This includes lettuce, cabbage, tubers, and roots like carrots. These cycles consider the period between planting and harvesting from 30 to 360 days. Most of them last approximately 90 days.
The vegetable sector plays an important role in the challenge of feeding the world. The salad business is regarded as a solution to improve and diversify the global population’s diet while reducing food waste.
Considering the worldwide importance of the vegetable market, especially regarding health standards, Brazil is working to increase the amount of small- and medium-sized producers in the market. Family farming is very relevant in this chain to ensure product variety and decentralize production.
In geographical terms, the production of vegetables is spread all over Brazil. Garlic, for example, is more concentrated in the states of Minas Gerais and Goiás, in the country’s Southeast and Midwest regions, respectively.
Cassava cultivation is relevant all over the country, standing out in the North (Pará state) and South (Paraná state) regions. Goiás is a state that concentrates almost a third of all tomato production in Brazil, while Santa Catarina, in the South region, leads onion production.
Brazilian vegetable production has been investing in more efficient technologies and agricultural systems in order to increase its presence in meals served worldwide. This includes simple techniques, such as integrated pest management, or more complex ones, such as using drones in crop fertilization and irrigation.
The idea is to make the vegetable production chain increasingly more organized to supply domestic and international markets. We must also take into account our diversity, agility, and tropical environment—which make it possible to produce vegetables consistently all year long.
Transparency and food safety
With increasingly conscious consumers and enhanced technologies, vegetable traceability plays an important role in food safety. Brazil is committed to strict traceability protocols for fruits, vegetables, and legumes. There are platforms to facilitate the procedures, like the Agritrace System, designed by the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA).
Social responsibility is also relevant to ensuring transparency in the processes. Brazilian vegetable production has principles that respect and seek better conditions for people who cultivate vegetables. Good farming practices also include the quality of life and safety of those responsible for production.