Pernambuco, Brazil Economy

By | May 18, 2021


Agriculture and Livestock

Pernambuco is the second Brazilian producer of sugarcane. The forest area is home to more than ninety percent of the plantations. Other important products in the state are cotton (arboreal and herbaceous) and cassava. The bean has less dispersion than the cassava, as it has little spread in the forest area and is found in all the micro regions of the hinterland and the wild. Corn shows a geographic distribution similar to that of beans, while bananas are distributed more similarly to cassava.

Cassava, beans and corn, essential products for the subsistence of the interior populations, show, along with their dispersion, a less accentuated tendency towards concentration in certain areas such as the swamps of the agreste and the mountainous areas of the sertão, all typified by the greater humidity, due to the relief rains, which benefit them. Some products of expression in the state and even regional panorama reached a notable concentration: the onion, grown in the São Francisco floodplain, and the cashew, typical of the lands of Garanhuns. Others have only local significance, such as coffee, also concentrated in the Garanhuns region, and coco-da-bay, on the coast.

According to, Pernambuco has expressive herds of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses and mules. The hinterland is the main breeding area, where most of the sheep, goats and cattle are found, these with little density in the region, but spread over a much larger extent than the wild. In the forest zone, the densities fall again, because sugar cane dominates the most fertile lands and leaves for breeding only the soil of the trays, where poor pastures are propagated. Milk production is concentrated in the wild, which accounts for more than half of the state’s total.


The state has a modern industrial park, which makes use of the solid structure offered by the port of Recife. The Suape industrial and port complex, located forty kilometers from the capital, is equipped to receive ships of up to one hundred thousand tons. The most important industries are food (especially sugar manufacturing), textiles (cotton processing, spinning and weaving), chemical and non-metallic mineral processing (cement, ceramics, glass, etc.).

The capital concentrates most of the industrial units, but in other municipalities important factories are installed: the textiles from Paulista and Moreno; the sugar mills of Barreiros, Catende, Escada, Pesqueira, Cabo, Formoso, Jaboatão and Goiana; the cement factories of Paulista and Goiana.


In addition to isolated establishments, the Federal University of Pernambuco, founded in 1946 (research carried out in the field of mycology and human nutrition, in institutes of its medical school, has its headquarters in the state), the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, founded in 1954, and the Catholic University of Pernambuco, founded in 1951.

The Pernambuco Pernambucan Academy of Letters, founded in 1901 (40 full members), is headquartered in Recife, as well as the Joaquim Nabuco Institute for Social Research, an institute founded in 1949 and dedicated to social science studies in the areas of sociology, anthropology and economics. The Recife City Hall’s Documentation and Culture Department maintains a library, discotheque, photo library, and various publications. The Archaeological, Historical and Geographic Institute of Pernambuco has published a magazine since 1963 and maintains a valuable library. Olinda maintains a Historical and Geographic Institute.

Libraries and museums

In the federal area, the Central Library of the Federal University of Pernambuco stands out, with its several departmental libraries and isolated institutes; the Library of the Agricultural Research and Experimentation Institute of the Northeast. Among the state ones, the State Public Library and the Pernambuco Economic Development Commission are important. Among the private ones, that of the Portuguese Reading Office, that of the Archaeological, Historical and Geographic Institute of Pernambuco, and that of the Cultural Society Brazil-United States.

Expressive in Recife are the State Museum, with its collections of prints, furniture, images and antique jewelry, and the Sugar Museum, in the Apipucos neighborhood. In Olinda, the Museum of Modern Art occupies the building of the former Diocesan Jail. There is also, in Caruaru, the Museum of Popular Art; in Goiana, the Historical Museum of Sacred Art; and in Igaraçu, the Museu do Instituto Histórico.


The main centers of tourist interest in the state are the cities of Recife and Olinda, both of which have a precious architectural collection. Olinda, for its historical and artistic monuments, which led it to be proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the capital, are points of greatest attraction: the fortresses of São João Batista do Brum and São Tiago das Cinco Pontas (where the heroes of the Confederation of Ecuador were executed), the former Soledade Palace, the Santa Isabel Theater (1859), the house where Joaquim Nabuco was born, the gardens of Count Maurício de Nassau, the Santo Antônio headquarters (where Henrique Dias is buried), the convent and church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, and the Noviços chapel, known as the Golden Chapel, of Third Order of São Francisco de Assis (1716).

The government palace, former Friborg palace, today Campo das Princesas; the former episcopal palace, home to the rebellious government of 1817; and the old jail, in 1852 converted into a public library, where Frei Caneca spent his last moments. Manor houses and valuable private art collections also contribute to the tourist interest.

In Olinda, the convents of São Francisco, do Carmo and Misericórdia, the monastery of São Bento, the churches of Nossa Senhora do Amparo, Nossa Senhora do Monte and Sé are noteworthy. , Casa Caiada and Rio Doce, do Carmo, Farol and Milagres, Boa Viagem, Janga, Sirinhiaém, Porto de Galinhas and São José da Coroa Grande. On the island of Itamaracá, those of Pilar Jaguaribe and Forte Orange

Folklore and cuisine

In a few states, the survival and presence of folklore is so alive, as in Pernambuco. That is why the First Latin American Folklore Meeting took place in Caruaru, in 1977. The city is famous for its handicraft fair (clay, ceramics, straw, leather, etc.) deeply identified with the nature and history of the region. Recife’s carnival was also notable for its cultural authenticity, dominated by the rhythm of frevo and maracatu.

Many popular traditions remain, such as chegança, reisado, pastoris and bumba-meu-boi, from the Christmas cycle, and dances such as coconut and quadrilhas, from the June cycle, xaxado and baião, male dances of the sertão . From the 1960s onwards, another attraction of the state became the New Jerusalem, district of Brejo da Madre de Deus, near Garanhuns, where a realistic Passion with enormous popular participation is staged.

Pernambuco’s cuisine is one of the most characteristic and tasty in Brazil. Special mention should be made of meat such as carne-de-sol with string beans or manioc, jabá with jerimum (dried meat with pumpkin), lamb or goat buchada, sarapatel with water flour, or wet tapioca (with coconut milk).

Pernambuco, Brazil Economy