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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the dimension and the conditions of economic reproduction of the poor farmers potentially classifiable in Group B of the National Program for Strengthening Family Farm (Pronaf), in Rio Grande do Norte State. To this end, was used information obtained through processing “special tabulation” of the second count of the Agricultural Census in 2006, conducted by IBGE. In general, the work shows that the family farmers in Group B - those with annual incomes until $3000 - totaled 42,234 establishments, representing roughly 60% of the 71,210 farmers in Rio Grande do Norte census in 2006. The low value of agricultural production generated annually by this number of producers is determined by “multiple productive deficiencies” (scarcity of land, water, education, technology, credit and technical assistance), which makes its economic reproduction dependent on other sources of revenue from outside the property, with particular emphasis on incomes of rural pensions and other government social programs. These and other evidences allow advanced understanding of poverty and social heterogeneity that characterizes agriculture in the Brazilian semiarid region by providing relevant information for further research in the area and to (re) orient the focus of the public policies for rural development.

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