South America is rich in minerals and possesses fertile soils. It is a major producer of crops such as coffee, sugarcane, soy, cocoa, cotton and tea and it has the largest cattle stock in the world. It also harbours the biggest remaining forest on earth, the Amazon.
With low population density and abundant natural resources, the region is essential for feeding the growing world population. It is estimated that Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay alone will feed up to 1.5 billion people worldwide in 2020.
Promoting equity, conserving natural resources
The Regional Expertise Centre (REC) South America is based in Argentina and has a country desk in Brazil. It covers a large area and runs several programmes aimed at promoting equity and conserving natural resources.
REC South America works to support decent trading and to improve working and living conditions of family farmers, farm workers and artisanal miners. Workers, especially sugarcane cutters, are faced with extremely poor labour conditions. Family farmers are challenged by large scale mechanised monoculture of soy and cotton. Solidaridad supports these groups, while acknowledging that modernization in agriculture is inevitable.
The expansion of farming and mining also affects the environment, biological and cultural diversity, if not planned and operated properly. Solidaridad supports the development of codes to steer expansion away from areas with important natural and cultural values. It also supports partner organizations that defend the rights of indigenous communities to their ancestral territories.
If we have vacancies you will find these in our jobs section.
REC South America works on sustainable supply chains in close collaboration with Solidaridad's worldwide network of expertise centres and local partners. Together we deliver the following services:
- Develop training programmes on farming techniques that enhance social and environmental values and improve efficiency and yields.
- Supporting producer organizations through capacity building and organizational strengthening.
- Assisting producer organizations to get access to means of production, finance and markets.
- Supporting agricultural producer organizations and industrial producer companies to qualify for social and environmental certification standards.
- Supporting companies to implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) related to regional sourcing.
- Supporting sustainable business initiatives with marketing and communication to inform business partners and consumers.
- Developing certification standards for sustainable production and fair trade (such as BSI, RTRS, RSPO, BCI, Fair Trade and UTZ CERTIFIED).
- Supporting civil society organizations that empower women, farmers or employees, as well as organizations that protect nature and bio diversity.
- Seeking dialogue with stakeholders and the public using our network, knowledge, experience and views on sustainable economic development and corporate social responsibility.