This paper aims to appraise the technological capabilities (LALL concept, 1992) of Brazilian sugarcane agroindustry for a sample of three leading production states: São Paulo, Paraná and Minas Gerais. A field research survey with sugar and ethanol mills provides the primary data for assessing technological capabilities (39%, 40% and 35% of the units in São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Paraná State, respectively, answered, which means approximately 32% of national production of sugarcane, sugar and ethanol). As a main finding, the sugarcane agroindustry, technically qualified and with low costs, presents an expressive domain of simple routine and adaptive duplicative technological capabilities. However, the advanced technological capabilities (innovative risky) are still lagging behind the technological frontier, especially in the innovation process and in the R&D.


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