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Title and author of article and URL

The north-east: politics, water and poverty - Ouricuri

http://www.economist.com/node/162636

Section A. Understanding the text

1. Make a bullet point list of 3-4 important things that you learned from the text OR write
out a short summary.
This year (1998), they got 250mm (of rain) in January, half of it unhelpfully in one day;
and since then, nothing. Underfoot, the dry caatinga crackles. Maize and beans have
failed, cattle risk running short of feed. As the sun relents towards evening, along
country roads women and children trudge home, balancing on their heads cans of
water drawn from muddy ponds, even they fast disappearing.
This is Brazil's most stubborn development challenge. It has resisted four decades
of regional policies aimed at overcoming the country's north-south divide. In the
nine north-eastern states, GDP per person is around $2,000, only half the national
average. Their 45m people, 28% of Brazil's total, include almost half its poor.
Applying the United Nations' human-development criteria, southern Brazil
approximates the poorer countries of Europe; the north-east is more like those of
Africa.
Grendene, a shoemaker from Rio Grande do Sul, is now Ceara's largest private
employer, with eight factories and 10,000 workers there. Despite much training, it
finds productivity lower than in the south, but wages are 50% lower.
the north-east's share of national income broadly static at about 14% from the mid-
1980s to 1996.
The roots of the north-east's poverty lie in a highly unequal land-holding structure,
exacerbated by the political power of the landowners. Poor soil and pasture mean
that cattle farms in the semi-arido need at least 100 hectares (250 acres) to be
economic. But most farmers have fewer than 30. And cotton, the main cash crop,
has succumbed over the past decade to disease, credit shortages and cheaper
imports. Without it, farmers are obliged to sell part of their meagre crops of maize
and beans, their diet has suffered, and they lack the savings or access to capital to
bounce back after drought
The second big need of the semi-arido is decent education. A typical north-
easterner has 3.3 years of schooling, half the (low) national average. Bahia and
Ceara, governed for more than a decade by allies of Mr Cardoso, are often held up
as models of the new, modern north-east. Yet in both states one adult in four is
illiterate. Just as lacking is technical and management training that could help to lift
the region's dry-farmers out of poverty.
2. What strikes you about the text? How is it related to our project? How will it help you write
your research paper and create a product for exhibition?
This article is related to our project because it explains the reasons why the northeast is
struggling so much more than the more industrialized south. This will help me write my
research paper in the future because it can help me support the reasons why Brazils
northeast is suffering.

Section B. Asking questions


Write 2-3 interpretative questions. Thats a question that people could have different opinions
about. These could then be applied to further articles.

What do you think the brazilian government should do to help support the poverty in
the northeast?
How can we help the brazilian northeast as an American citizen?
Section C Quotation Analysis

1. What quote or quotes struck you as memorable or particularly interesting? Why?


What point was the author making? What significance does it have to the meaning of
the text?

Drought is a problem of lack of income. If people had income, they would have food and
water, because someone would find it worthwhile to supply them, says Sergio Moreira,
director of Sudene, the federal development agency for the north-east. The 21m people of
the semi-arido, especially the subsistence-farming households that make up most of its
10m rural population, are trapped in a vicious circle, in which poverty and drought
reinforce each other.

This quote struck me because it brought up a new point that I had never thought of before
about one of the reasons why the northeast has so much more poverty and less
industrialization than that of the south. The point the author is trying to make is that
because of how poor the majority of the northeasts population is people won't send
support for them in the drought because there isn't anything in it for them because of how
poor they are.