Largest rural settlement in Brazil benefits from crop diversification

04 April 2017

In order to get first-hand experience of the local reality and enormous challenges that smallholders face in the production of sustainable commodities, Solidaridad hosted a field trip to Novo Repartimento during the annual Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) event held in Brasilia (DF) last month.

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Mariana Pereira (Solidaridad), Pedro Santos (Solidaridad), Arnaldo Carneiro (INPA) and Judith Marinissen (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands) visit the Tuerê settlement.

From 17 to 19 March, participants visited the Novo Repartimento municipality and the settlement of Tuerê. Arnaldo Carneiro, a researcher at the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA), Judith Marinissen, coordinating policy adviser on climate at the Ministry of International Relations of the Netherlands, were accompanied by a team of Solidaridad's experts working on the project.

The goal of zero deforestation is difficult and needs to be brought closer to the local reality and challenges they face. Commitments from sector leaders are fundamental to this process. But in order to achieve zero deforestation in the production chains, it’s necessary to articulate the intense local and regional scale, as well as the concrete benefits for all actors, be they producers or municipalities. - Mariana Pereira, Solidaridad regional assistant for cocoa and palm oil programmes.

Reaching out to rural communities

Tucked in the transamazonica region, Novo Repartimento represents the largest rural settlement in Brazil, according to the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA). More than 3,000 settlers have gathered in this area in the settlement of Tuerê.

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Estado do Pará e Novo Repartimento

This distant locale has undergone several cycles of occupation and migration since the 1970s. Currently, Solidaridad is implementing a programme for integrated, sustainable, low carbon production. The programme includes 53 families of cocoa and livestock producers in its initial phase and is focused on contributing to the development of a model that combines increase in cocoa production, with diversification of production on the farm plot. Farmers in the programme are taught to consider practices such as intensification of agroforestry systems and producing other crops for regional consumption.

"The objective is to develop an integrated model, which incorporates the environmental suitability of the properties and a positive carbon balance in the production unit. We believe that business generation, including the climate component,” explained Joyce Brandão, manager of the cocoa and palm oil programmes for Solidaridad in Brazil. “This is fundamental for achieving global climate agreements, and it is capable of involving all links in the cocoa and livestock production chains, in addition to producers.”

Supporting a network of sustainability leaders

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) is a global public-private partnership in which partners individually and jointly undertake voluntary actions to reduce tropical deforestation associated with the supply of commodities such as palm oil, soybeans, meat, pulp and paper. By doing so, global emissions of greenhouse gases are significantly reduced, the livelihoods of millions of small farmers improved, natural habitats conserved, and tropical landscapes protected for the future generations. This is a key aspect of promoting inclusive and sustainable rural economic development and countries with tropical forests.

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Cocoa plantation in Novo Repartimento (PA)

"TFA 2020 showed us that when we move from public-private partnerships, we are increasingly asking for transparency and social inclusion so that sectoral commitments to zero deforestation also contribute to the development of countries, landscapes and society," said Fatima Cardoso, Solidaridad country manager for Brazil.

The alliance was founded in 2012 after the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) pledged to eliminate deforestation in supply chains for palm oil, soybean, beef, pulp and paper. Since June 2015, the Secretariat of the Tropical Forest Alliance has been established at the offices of the World Economic Forum in Geneva, with financial support from the governments of the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

The TFA holds a major global event each year. In 2017, the event took place in Brasilia (DF).

More information about Solidaridad and its projects and the TFA can be found on www.solidaridadsouthamerica.org (Spanish) and www.tfa2020.org.