In 2006 the Federal Program Fome Zero approved the creation of the Território Zona Sul da Cidadania is an acknowledgment given by the Brazilian government, and it considers the south area of Rio Grande do Sul (RS) as different from other regions in the country, mainly from the central zones and the northeast of RS. It is part of the Território da Cidadania, which is a Brazilian government program.
In the mid-eighties the local economy had Pelotas as its center, and the leading economy were held on the agri-food industry, especially the different sorts of canned vegetables. In the following decades, the economic system collapsed.
There were several critical factors that resulted in this collapse. It derives from oldness engineering processes, the technological delay of industry, and the inner political companies’ problems in administrative management. Other factors include the effects through the MERCOSUL, carrying out the possible opening of successful commercialization, which alongside sustained the independent trade, allowed entry of goods from the market border and non-border countries.
The downgrade agri-food model reflects, simultaneously, on the eradication of fruit crops and in the possible expansion of tobacco marketing, whose social and economic importance is increasing and is crucial for many cities’ economies in the RS southern edge. Social reproduction is in countless thousands of family businesses. Through the vertical agreements –integration system– rural families in common are under the necessary investment of all supplies of the tobacco industry, as well as the successful delivery of its process of drying and classifying the tobacco.
However, many challenges are present in the RS state, which is characterized by the economic crisis and stagnation of many social perspectives of lots of places ruled through the measure of the agricultural task, which covers a site of 39.960.00 Km2, introducing in the interior no less than 25 cities Chuí, Cristal, Jaguarão, Pelotas, Rio Grande, Santa Vitória do Palmar, Santana da Boa Vista, São José do Norte, São Lourenço do Sul, Turuçu, Amaral Ferrador, Arroio Grande, Candiota, Capão do Leão, Aceguá, Arroio do Padre, Canguçu, Cerrito, Herval, Hulha Negra, Morro Redondo, Pedras Altas, Pedro Osório, Pinheiro Machado, and Piratini.
The residents in the bounded Território Zona Sul da Cidadania is 863.956. 151.765 resides in the rural area, which is about 17,57% of the overall. According to the previous agricultural census of the IBGE (2006) (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), there are 32.160 family’s businesses, as well as 3.615 families living in settlement due to the agrarian reform and 36 quilombola local communities. The average HDI is 0.79, which is considered average if compared to other Brazilian regions. Perhaps, it is moderate if other contributing factors are considered, for the dynamic areas of the center-eastern portion of Sulriograndenses’ geomorphology, such as the specific localities of the ‘Serra Gaucha’ whose average HDI exceeds 0.81.
There are, by all means, other parameters that show degrees of stagnation in the southern RS. In the previous analysis it positively correlates with the area of direct influence of the Federal University of Pelotas. In this sense, the
Foundation of Economics and Statistics of Rio Grande do Sul (FEE, RS) uses a third-generation namely the ‘Socio-economic Development Index’ (IDESE, 2009). It was employed to study the geomorphological section that corresponds to the so-called Regional Development Councils (Coredes) developed by the state government. Thus, as the case of Corede Serra, the IDESE reached 0,818, the same result of Corede Sul and it reached respectively 0.761 and 0.767 for the Corede Campanha.
This geographic section, which corresponds to Coredes, is close to the area bounded by the Território Zona Sul da Cidadania. Hence, it is possible to notice there is a similar scenario of challenges facing the limits set by the economic framework and a renewed difficulty in turning itself into a favorable space to boost innovation and dynamism. Undoubtedly the lack of planning efficiency in land use is contributing to the lower IDESE values found in the South Zone.
Currently, the area, even so, has agricultural boundary features in terms of information on its harvesting potential. There is limited information on how the space in the south area presents opportunities and limitations concerning climate changes and the application of specific technologies.
Here, the geo-technologies are highlighted, –since they are required to invest in the generation of information concerning on how the use of these essential resources have been expanding progressively and on how to carefully analyze a given context of the leading factors that have ruled the use of these resources aiming the development of Território Zona Sul– the economic integration of information from population censuses and spatial technology will enable an understanding of how the population of the southern zone is managing the land and developing agroindustrial systems.
Not long ago, there was the local development of the ‘naval hub’ in the city of the Rio Grande; it pointed out as a driving force of the regional economy due to the federal government’s investments in petroleum platform building, amounting to roughly one billion dollars. Yet, logistical problems, the lack of connection between productive chains, and the waste of human and material resources are equally significant.
To summarize, there is, on the other hand, a dynamic sector that arises from specific needs (shipbuilding) and another that lies outside the broader processes and it is driven by the perennial dependence on production performance of raw materials and low added value.
Notwithstanding, it does not take much effort to recognize the great role of many assets such as water resources (e.g., the lagoon ecosystem), biodiversity, and a natural and cultural legacy of great value that does not exist in other areas
of Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil.
These are the elements that, according to this knowledge, justify the formation of an interdisciplinary graduate program whose fundamental target is the retaking of reflection around development processes. It is a matter of rescuing UFPel’s primary vocation toward sustainable development demands within its field of influence.
UFPel is a federal institution of higher education that currently has 69 graduate programs (17 at masters and doctoral, 20 at masters, three professional masters, and 29 specializations). Yet, none of these programs has as its focus the broader discussion of the territorial development challenges or the issues that affect agribusiness system dynamics and land processes.
It becomes an essential fact if considering the need to make room for reflecting and talking about the challenges of development at the regional level, reflecting, at last, the interdisciplinary nature of this task. Here, the proposal shows such an understanding.
The development of this significant area of Rio Grande do Sul state may not occur from a purely sectoral approach or be restricted to the boundaries of ordinary productive chains.
In short, it is not only the pressing need to create a program identified by the confrontation of fundamental local issues, but also the need for this reflection to occur through the contribution of different knowledge areas, such as (math, agricultural sciences, humanities, social sciences, applied social sciences – economics, sociology, management, agronomy, food engineering, engineering, environmental management, space technologies, and so on.) Generally, these are the main principles that provide support for the framework proposal of the “Master’s Degree in Territorial Development and Agroindustrial Systems.”
Then, the graduate program aims to assist professionals from several areas, such as Agronomic Engineering, Management, Veterinary Medicine, Zootechny, Agricultural Engineering, Food Chemistry, Geography, Nutrition, Food Engineering, Forestry Engineering, among others. Hopefully, the approach offered by the program can lure students who possess some interaction with the rural development area and agribusiness systems.
So, former students and recent graduates will be accepted, as long as both are eager to commit two years to the master’s degree. It is intended to focus on candidates that:
(i) demonstrate an interest in knowledge building in rural development and agribusiness systems; and
(ii) wishes to apply the scientific knowledge they have acquired in the graduate program.