Sustainability of Soybean Farms Participating in the Agro Plus Program in Minas Gerais State, Brazil: An Application of Cluster and Principal Component Analyzes

Antônio Consentino Teixeira Oliveira, Aziz Galvão da Silva Júnior, Zhang Min


Brazil is the world's largest producer and exporter of soy. The 2022/23 harvest reached 154 million tons and the soy complex (soybean and processed products) was responsible for 19 % of Brazilian agribusiness total exports, contributing with US$ 60 billion to the trade balance. The sustainability of agricultural production is a key issue for the European and Chinese markets. The Agro Plus program, former Soja Plus, was set up in the early 2010s by the Brazilian Vegetable Oil Industries and Farmers Associations (ABIOVE) with the objective of improving the sustainability of soy production. The Agro Plus has been implemented in 5.300 farms nationwide using a checklist which comprises around 230 indicators divided into Social and Environmental and Rural Construction major themes. In Minas Gerais State, the program is coordinate by the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) and the Farmers´ Association. The objective of this study was to identify critical indicators and groups of farms, allowing the discussion and proposition of individual and collective actions. The Cluster and the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) methods were used. Based on the updated version of the checklist applied in 123 farms during the 2021/22 season, three groups of farms (A, B and C) were identified comprising of 18, 77 and 22 farms respectively. PCA analysis was carried out for each major theme. The first three PCs explain 67% of the variance of Socio Environmental themes and 70% of Rural Building themes. Identified critical indicators and the analysis of farms´ groups allowed the proposition of focused capacity building and distribution of information material to specific group of farms. The UFV team shared the results with the Coordination of the Program and actions for the next Agro Plus assessment campaign will be discussed in a National Seminar to be held in early 2023. It would be highly opportune to include data from other states and to discuss the results considering the requirements of specific market, such as the Chinese one.


Multivariate analysis; soybean chain sustainability; brazilian soybean

Full Text:



ISSN 1869-6945


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License