Incentivizing Best Practices in Soybean Production in the Brazilian Cerrado

CSF-Brazil is working to promote sustainable soybean expansion in the MATOPIBA region of the Brazilian Cerrado. In partnership with Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM - Amazon Environmental Research Institute), we are conducting a modeling study to better understand decision making around soybean production in MATOPIBA and assess various incentive and management strategies.

Specifically, our study will identify the factors that affect farmers’ production choices in 10 priority municipalities in Tocantins and Bahia. We will use choice modeling to assess the impact of incentive and management strategies on production choices and deforestation decisions according to producer preference patterns.

This work will contribute to the design of more efficient incentives to engage farmers in sustainable production at the lowest cost.


MATOPIBA is a specific area of the Brazilian Cerrado biome, the world’s most biodiverse savannah, in Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia states, as well as small areas of the Amazon and Caatinga biomes. MATOPIBA is known as Brazil’s current “agricultural frontier”, as the area is increasingly cleared for soybean and livestock production.

Local farmers are the key decision makers when it comes to both agricultural expansion, and uptake of more sustainable farming practices. Their decisions depend on production factors (such as the suitability, cost, and size of land available for expansion), the relevant incentive mechanisms (such as their reputation, technical assistance programs, PES programs), types of contract, etc.), as well as cultural factors and perceptions about the institutional context and market.

This project is funded by Conservation International Brasil (CI), via the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its role of the MATOPIBA Global Environment Facility.

Photo: Giant toucan, native to the the Brazilian Cerrado.

Photo Credit: edmo junior on Unsplash