The environmental, social and economic effects of recent technological changes in sugarcane on the State of São Paulo, Brazil
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From 2007 to 2017, the Agro-Environmental Protocol of the Sugar and Energy Sector was in force, an agreement between sugarcane mill owners and the State Government of São Paulo, Brazil, proposing to eliminate sugarcane burning as a method to facilitate the harvest. Simultaneously, the sugarcane harvest was becoming widely mechanized while, under the interests of capital accumulation, the mills were entering the information and communication technology era and providing the agricultural processes with more precise and immediate management and technological controls, similar to those implemented in the mills' administrative and industrial operations in the 1990s. Short-term factors, including environmental factors, favoured sugarcane technological changes. As a result, there was a mass layoff of rural workers and an increasing number of people/workers in agricultural mechanization, transportation and maintenance of machinery and administrative as well. The whole process highlighted the differences between mills, resulting in small and medium sugarcane farmers and mills to become the most impacted, in operational and financial terms, by the accelerating mechanization of the sugarcane industry as a whole.