Meet the AGROVOC editorial community


An interview with the GTermos team at Embrapa -  AGROVOC editor for Brazilian Portuguese

The Permanent Commission for Controlled Vocabularies, Agri-terminologies and Agri-semantics (GTermos) at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Embrapa,  is part of the AGROVOC editorial community as the editor of Brazilian Portuguese. It is composed of ten experts who work in different fields such as information science and management, computer science, translation, education, literature and biology: Ivo Pierozzi Júnior, Bibiana Teixeira de Almeida, Francisca Rasche, Maria de Cléofas Faggion Alencar, Viviane de Oliveira Solano, Leandro Henrique Mendonça de Oliveira, Milena Ambrosio Telles, Rochelle Alvorcem, Vera Viana dos Santos Brandão, and Patrícia Rocha Bello Bertin.

When did you start your experience in AGROVOC and how are you engaging with AGROVOC?

In 2010, in the context of a wider effort related to the implementation of  semantic web principles, Embrapa contacted FAO, in particular the AGROVOC team. Since then, Embrapa has been following developments in AGROVOC's activities. This collaboration has transformed AGROVOC into a theoretical, conceptual and operational reference for the creation of Agrotermos, Embrapa’s own controlled vocabulary/semantic structure, which was created in 2014.  

GTermos was established in 2018, with the objective to build, manage and use Agrotermos. GTermos also aimed at integrating Agrotermos with Embrapa's data, information and knowledge management services, within the framework of the data governance and information for knowledge policy, already implemented at Embrapa, which contributes to the efforts to increase agricultural digitalization in Brazil.

What has been the most important achievement of being part of the editorial community?

Embrapa's most important achievement has been the addition of Brazilian Portuguese as one of the languages featured in AGROVOC. It has been an important step to further disseminate Brazilian agricultural scientific production. Embrapa is also thrilled with the prospect of further participation in the editorial community since its discussions greatly contribute to the understanding of collections of concepts, terms, definitions and relationships and other semantic web technologies. 

How does your work with AGROVOC benefit your organization?

Embrapa has a scientific production database, BDPA - Base de Dados da Pesquisa Agropecuária - and other information systems that are available and accessible to the public. However, over the years, the problems of consistency, ambiguity and lack of interoperability between information systems have grown substantially. Until recently, Embrapa used to follow management processes and use externally controlled vocabularies that were not perfectly aligned, whether in terms of design or management, with its own repertoire of tropical agriculture contents. Agrotermos was envisioned to solve this issue.

Agrotermos was built by collecting together Portuguese language terminologies present in other national and international agricultural thesauri. Currently, Agrotermos is composed of approximately 245 000 terms, of which 41 337 were incorporated from AGROVOC.  The thesaurus has  been prepared to expand its technological functionality as a terminological resource for Brazilian agricultural knowledge. Agrotermos has been set up using information engineering, natural language processing methodologies and tools, Corpus Linguistics and semantic modeling. 

AGROVOC’s conceptual and terminological uptake, with FAO experience and expertise in linguistic and conceptual alignment, are excellent references for Agrotermos. Furthermore, the collaboration with AGROVOC for the curation of its Brazilian Portuguese terms and concepts is an invaluable opportunity for the enrichment of both vocabularies.     

Which was the last concept/word you worked on?

The terminological set of the Brazilian variant of the Portuguese language in AGROVOC and the recently published Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forestry (ICLF) glossary, whose terms will be considered for inclusion  in AGROVOC. 

What is your favorite AGROVOC term?

Myrciaria cauliflora, our unique tropical fruit known as Jaboticaba.


Embrapa was founded on 26 April 1973 under the aegis of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply, where it remains. Since its foundation, Embrapa and its partners from the National Agricultural Research System have taken on the challenge to develop a genuinely Brazilian model of tropical agriculture and livestock to overcome the barriers that limited the production of food, fiber and fuel in the country. 

An institution with a global spirit, Embrapa has,  throughout its history, built a strong international cooperation network. It is currently present in every continent, partnering with some of the most prominent institutions and research networks in the world. Embrapa's activities abroad also contribute to the Brazilian Government's technical cooperation programme, which aims at transferring and adapting Brazilian technologies to the tropical realities of different countries.