Factors Affecting Smallholder Farmers’ Decisions to AdoptAgroecology: the Case of Agri-Environmental Incentives in Brazil

Agricultural production is a primary contributor to some of the key environmental issues of our time: climate change, biodiversity loss, and the degradation of land and water. At the same time, agriculture is remains inextricably linked to the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. To address these interconnected social and environmental issues, the Brazilian government’s program to offer fair prices for smallholder farmers (PAA) also incorporates a price premium for crops grown according to agroecology, a sustainable agricultural method. These price premiums for agroecology are considered agri-environmental incentives; they are an economic motivation for farmers to grow more sustainably. This research project examines farmer motivations for adopting sustainable agricultural methods, focusing particularly on the role of price premiums. This research project aims to tackle these questions, at the intersection of poverty, rural development and sustainable agriculture, through fieldwork in Santa Catarina state, the “Agroecological capital” of Brazil.

Faculty Supervisor:

Hannah Wittman


Jill Guerra



Environmental sciences



University of British Columbia



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