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Pernambuco - Economy and Infrastructure

Read also: History of Pernambuco

Primary sector. Since colonial times, cane has been the most important product of Pernambuco (today, the State is the second largest producer in Brazil, second only to São Paulo); about 90% of the farms are on the Zona da Mata (read Geography of Pernambuco). The cane, which used to be entirely directed to the production of sugar, now is also used to produce fuel alcohol, used (alone or mixed to gasoline) to propel Brazilian vehicles.
Cotton and coconut have significant commercial productions, in the agreste and in the areas of Zona da Mata where cane didn´t adapt well. In Petrolina, water of the river São Francisco is being used to develop irrigated agriculture; the sandy soil and the abundance of sun make the region appropriated to the cultures of tropical fruits, like grapes and mangos (the airport of Petrolina is an important gateway to send fruits to Europe and Japan).
Beans, manioc and corn are grown in thousands of small properties all around the State, most often to be consumed by the own family or for trades in local markets; these products are resistant to tough soil and weather conditions, are nutritive, and can be stored for long periods; these three products are the basics for the poor population.
Cattle raising occurs in the sertão; ranchers use the vast lands, not proper for agriculture, to raise mostly bovines and caprines (goat is a very appreciated plate in Pernambuco). The meat is sold in the regional markets, or sent to Recife for the industrialization of jerked beef.

Industry. The metropolitan area of Recife is the main industrial zone of the State; most relevant products are those derived from cane (sugar and alcohol); thanks to the fiscal incentives of SUDENE, many industrial enterprises were started in the 1970s and 1980s.

Commerce and services. Recife has a tradition of being the most important commercial center of the northeastern corner of Brazil; people from Alagoas to Maranhão used to come to Recife to buy in whole and sell retailed. Nowadays, with the growth of other capitals (particularly Fortaleza), Recife lost some of its importance, but the ports of Recife and Suape are still major hubs for distribution of products coming from the South. The Shopping Center Recife claims to be the largest one in Latin America (as measured by rented area).
A combination of good workforce and massive private investments turned Recife into the second medical city of Brazil (second to São Paulo); modern hospitals with state of the art equipments receive pacients from all neighbour States.
Like all other States in northeast, Pernambuco is developing the tourist sector. Recife has one of the most complete infrastructure in Brazil, for travellers and businessmen; the restaurants of the city rank amongst the best in the country; Porto de Galinhas has been acclaimed the best beach in Brazil; the island of Fernando de Noronha is under Administration by the government of Pernambuco.

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