Agriculture and Livestock
Approximately 75% of the active population is engaged in the agricultural sector. Agriculture is the sector of greatest economic importance, both for the value of production and for the number of manpower used. The small commercial and subsistence crop dominates in the state.
The cultivation of arboreal cotton, an important product of the state due to the area occupied and the value of production, occupies a large part of the agricultural area of the pediplano, where castor beans are also cultivated. In the midst of these areas, occupying the dry riverbeds, the so-called low water crops appear in the dry season, which in part provide the livelihood of the local population.
Another type of agriculture appears in the floodplains of rivers (alluvial lands), especially in the valleys of Jaguaribe, Banabuiú and Acaraú, with cultivation of cane, rice, corn, beans and herbaceous cotton. On mountain slopes, heavy rainfall allows more intense use of the soil with the cultivation of cane, coffee, fruit trees (especially bananas) and some subsistence products (corn, beans and cassava). The agriculture that develops at the foot of the plateaus is also linked to the occurrence of major rains, but there is still the use of water from natural sources. The main crops are bananas, sugar cane, beans, rice and corn.
Extensive cattle ranching occupies most of the dry lands of the hinterland, where cattle are raised on the loose, mainly on natural pastures. Ceará has one of the largest cattle herds in the Northeast. Herds of pigs, sheep and goats are also numerous.
According to clothesbliss.com, the main branches of the manufacturing industry, due to the value of production and the number of people employed, are the textile, food, chemical, metallurgical and non-metallic mineral processing industries. In order to stimulate industrial development, the Industrial District of Ceará was organized, near Fortaleza. In addition to the capital, the cities of Sobral, Crato and Juazeiro do Norte are also of secondary industrial importance.
In the extractive industry sector, the production of diatomite, gypsum and salt stands out, among the minerals, and of carnauba, cashews and firewood, among the vegetables. The fishing sector (Ceará is the largest national producer of fish) has made considerable progress with the installation of slaughterhouses and the modernization of the fishing fleet.
Transport and energy
The most important of the highways is the BR-116, which from Fortaleza goes to the Bahia Recôncavo, passing through the Jaguaribe valley, where it touches the cities of Ruças and Jaguaribe. Another important paved highway is the BR-222, which from Fortaleza launches towards Sobral, and from there proceeds to Piripiri, in Piauí.
The railway network comprises two trunk lines arranged in a north-south direction. The first part of the port of Camocim to the south, passing through Sobral and Itu, and reaches Crateús. The second part of Fortaleza also extends to the south, playing Baturité, Quixadá, Quixeramobim, Senador Pompeu, Iguatu, Juazeiro do Norte and Crato. The two trunk lines were connected by the Fortaleza-Sobral line in 1949.
The state has three ports: Camocim, Mucuripe and Aracati. Mucuripe, in Fortaleza, is the only organized port in Ceará. The one in Camocim is located at the mouth of the Coreaú River, in the west, and the one in Aracati in the lower Jaguaribe, in the east.
Most of the electric energy consumed in the state is supplied by the Paulo Afonso plant.
The Academia Cearense de Letras, the oldest in Brazil, was founded in 1894. In 1903 the Free Faculty of Law was inaugurated. Other important entities, all in Fortaleza, are the Ceará Institute, founded in 1887, dedicated to the study of the state’s history, geography and anthropology; the Federal University of Ceará; the Casa Juvenal Galeno, dedicated to literature; the State Public Library; the Escola Normal Museum; the Henrique Jorge Musical Society; the Comédia Cearense; the Fortaleza Film Club; and the Lawyer Club.
Among the museums, we highlight the Museum of Modern Art at the Federal University of Ceará, the Gustavo Barroso Historical Museum and the Escola Normal Museum, whose archaeological collection was listed by the Historical Patrimony. Fortaleza also has the Historical Museum of Ceará and the Art Museum of the University of Ceará. In Juazeiro do Norte the Museu do Padre Cícero works and in Aquiraz the Museu de Arte Sacra São José do Ribamar.
In the capital, the José de Alencar theater, with 706 seats, was listed by the Historical Patrimony. Also noteworthy are the house where the composer Alberto Nepomuceno was born, the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Assunção, the fountain Tomás Pompeu, the monument to Christ the Redeemer, all in Fortaleza. Another listed monument is the house where the novelist José de Alencar was born, in Mecejana; and in Juazeiro do Norte, the tomb of Father Cícero, a pilgrimage site for the entire population of the Northeast.
The main center of tourist attraction in the state is the capital itself, which has famous beaches such as Iracema, do Futuro, Barra do Ceará, Volta da Jurema and Mucuripe (the last two, raft collection points). But there are other cities in Ceará such as Aracati, Cascavel, Camocim and Beberibe that stand out for the beauty of their beaches. Among the churches, we highlight the Metropolitan Cathedral, churches of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Cristo-Rei, Pequeno Grande (Fortaleza); basilica of São Francisco das Chagas (Canindé); headquarters of Nossa Senhora de Assunção (Viçosa do Ceará); Capuchin basilica, Horto chapel and Church of Nossa Senhora das Dores (Juazeiro do Norte).
Other tourist spots in the capital are the headquarters of the Instituto do Ceará; Cidade da Criança, former Liberty Park; the Passeio Público, former Praça dos Mártires, where the cell in which Bárbara de Alencar was held was found; the Mucuripe lighthouse; the Presidente Vargas stadium; the lagoon of Mecejana; the headquarters of Náutico Atlético Cearense; and the Ferreira square.
28 km from Fortaleza is the old city of Aquirás, with the Sacred Museum of São José de Ribamar and the headquarters of São José de Ribamar. Near the border with Piauí is the Ubajara National Park, with a limestone grotto about half a kilometer long. The city of Juazeiro do Norte, in the south of the state, is also an important center for handicrafts. The Iguatu Lagoon and the Gameleira site in Iguatu also represent important tourist attractions in the state; the Cedro weir, in Quixadá; the Orós reservoir, in Orós; and Casa dos Milagres, in Canindé.