Santa Catarina Economy

Santa Catarina Economy

Agriculture, livestock and fishing

The main agricultural product of Santa Catarina is maize, grown in the basaltic plateau, where it provides feed for pigs. Followed by soy, tobacco, cassava, beans, rice (cultivated with irrigation in the lowlands of the coastal lowlands and the Itajaí valley, bananas and potatoes). The state is also an important producer of cane -sugar, garlic, onion, tomato, wheat, apple, grape, oats and barley.

Cattle breeding is done mainly in the natural field, extensively, and in forest areas, to a lesser extent, with animals subjected to semi-stables. In those areas where agriculture is the predominant activity, breeding is directed towards pigs, especially in the basaltic plateau, where maize production ensures adequate feed for the animals. Pig farming has made great progress in the state, due to the development of slaughterhouses specialized in the processing of pork. Great expansion was also seen in poultry farming.

Santa Catarina is one of the largest fish producers in the country. Fishing, especially that practiced in artisanal molds, plays an important role in the state’s economy. The activity, which dates back to the Azorean origin of the population, takes place mainly in Florianópolis, Navegantes and Itajaí.


Vegetable and mineral wealth contribute decisively to the state’s productive progress. Among the first are forest reserves, represented especially by pine forests, despite their intense exploitation, and herbs, which allow the state to remain a major producer of yerba mate. The state of Santa Catarina is one of the largest producers of paper and cellulose in the country.

In mineral extraction, the occurrences of coal, mainly in the coastal lowland areas (Uruçanga, Criciúma, Lauro Muller and Tubarão), represent an important factor for regional economic development. The coals from Santa Catarina are the most homogeneous in the country, despite having defects – they are rich in pyrites, have high levels of ash, etc.

The conditions for the exploitation of mineral coal have shown a significant improvement, from the technical point of view and the equipment used. Santa Catarina also has the largest Brazilian reserves of fluorite and flint (in production). Other available mineral resources are the deposits of Brusque limestone, marble, Argentine galena and manganese ore, not all of which, however, are economically exploited.


The main industrial centers in Santa Catarina are Joinville and Blumenau. The first has a diversified character, with factories of fabrics, food products, foundries and the mechanical industry. Blumenau concentrates its activity in the textile industry. In the interior of the state, there are numerous small manufacturing centers, linked both to the industrialization of wood and to the processing of agricultural and pastoral products.

The northeast of the state stands out in the production of motocompressors, auto parts, refrigerators, motors and electrical components, industrial machines, pipes and connections. In the south of the state (including the cities of Imbituba, Tubarão, Criciúma, Içara and Uruçanga), in turn, are concentrated the main ceramic tile factories in Brazil. The state of Santa Catarina also leads, in the country, the production of crockery and crystals.


The hydroelectric potential of Santa Catarina is not fully utilized, and a large part of the energy consumed in the state is supplied by thermoelectric plants. The use of steam coal to feed these plants not only contributes to the expansion of thermoelectric production, but also ensures a growing market for increasing consumption of state coal production.


The Santa Catarina railroads, managed by the Federal Railway Network (11th Division – Paraná-Santa Catarina and 12th Division – Teresa Cristina Railway) have two main trunks, which cut the state in the north-south direction: one passes through Mafra and Lajes and the other, by Porto União, Caçador and Joaçaba. In the north of the state, an east-west line connects the cities to the coast, serving Porto União, Canoinhas, Mafra, São Bento do Sul, Joinville and São Francisco do Sul. Other Santa Catarina rail lines serve the Itajaí valley and the region coal mining, linking it with the ports of Laguna and Imbituba.

The Santa Catarina road network integrates the different regions of the state. The main highway is the BR-101, which crosses the coast and drains much of the production. Another important highway is the BR-470, which connects the midwest to the coast. BR-470 connects to BR-282 and BR-283 and circulates agro-industrial production that is exported through the port of Itajaí.

By BR-280, which connects the city of Porto União, in the Planalto Norte, with the port of São Francisco do Sul, the production of the furniture industry of São Bento do Sul and the yerba mate produced in Canoinhas are transported. Other important highways are BR-153 and BR-116, which crosses the cities of Lajes, Papanduva and Mafra. There are 23 public and private airports in the state. The most important are those of Florianópolis (international), Joinville and Navegantes.

Four specialized ports – São Francisco do Sul, Itajaí, Imbituba and Laguna – form the Santa Catarina port system. The first, essentially an exporter, is the largest bulk port in the state. The one in Itajaí is mainly used for the export of sugar and frozen products and the transportation of fuels, while Imbituba is a coal terminal and Laguna, a fishing port.

Santa Catarina Economy

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