In 1996, Brazil employed more than 5,000 full-time equivalent researchers and spent more than $1 billion (1993 international dollars) on agricultural R&D; about one half of the total agricultural research spending throughout Latin America in that year.
Most of the research spending is done by public agencies; 79 percent by federal and state organizations and 15 percent by higher education agencies. Embrapa, a corporation established by the federal government in 1972, is still the country’s dominant research agency, accounting for 57 percent of total spending in 1996 (slightly higher than its spending share of two decades earlier).
The intensity with which Brazil invests in agricultural research is high by Latin American standards and becoming comparable with the intensities found in some developed countries. In 1996, Brazil invested $1.70 for every $100 of agricultural GDP. Since 1976, financial support for agricultural R&D has generally trended upwards. However, since the mid 1990s Embrapa’s funding has been significantly curtailed—partly due to a reduction in nominal funding and partly due to the effects of inflation—along with funding for many of the state research agencies, resulting in several closures and merges with state extension agencies.