This year 13 students agriculture students from Hawkeye Community College have decided to take the great opportunity to study abroad in Brazil over spring break.
Today was a very educational day. We started out visiting the ministry of agriculture where Raul de Oliveira Fontoura (policy advisor) gave a informative presentation on Brazilian agriculture and had an opportunity to ask questions. Brazil is number one in production and export of sugar and coffee, they are second in production and first in exports for soybeans with 52.7% of all soybean production being exported. Brazil does have a major challenge with infrastructure and getting commodities to ports for market. Currently, new ports in the northern region are being constructed along with a railway system to help transport goods for exportation. It was a great start to the day.
We ate lunch at Mangai which is a traditional Brazilian buffet. There is a vast amount of food to choose from including a large dessert selection. It is open air dining and today was a beautiful day for that. Interesting and typical of traditional Brazilian restaurants is the method of pricing buffets. After you fill your plate they weigh it to determine what your meal will cost.
Our next stop was the JK Memorial. Juscelino Kubitschek was the 21st president (1956-1961) of Brazil and the man with a vision of Brasilia as a city. Before JK took office the area where Brasilia sits was a savanna area but now a city designed in the shape of an airplane sits as the capital. It took 41 months for completion in 1960. The memorial was built in his memory in 1980 where his body now resides. He is seen as one of the great presidents of Brazil and the man who built modern Brazil.
Our afternoon ended with a visit to APEX. At APEX they focus on development of export markets for Brazilian commodities as well as work with outside investors. They have nine additional world wide locations, 2 in the US (San Francisco and Miami), that help support the mission of export expansion. Another very informative visit.
Overall, it was a great day learning about Brazil.