A new specially designed software program helps farmers improve their business.
It generates an individual recommendation report for improving practices for those points where farmers are performing below standard. This ‘Farmer Support and Loyalty Tool’ not only supports farmers in improving their business, but also shows their environmental and social footprint. Farmers take between half an hour to two hours to fill in a questionnaire about their practices. These data are then processed in the software programme, and this provides an individual recommendation report.
Bonsucro Farmer Focus Day
The Brazilian ethanol producer and largest crusher in the world, Raízen presented the outcomes of a large-scale farmer sustainability self-assessment on the Bonsucro Farmer Focus Day in London. In Bonsucro, farmers, producers, NGOs and big brands collaborate to support an increasing number of sugarcane producers in making their production sustainable. The aim is to improve the social, environmental and economic impacts of sugarcane production.
Over 250 medium to large cane growers from Sao Paulo state in Brazil participated in the self-assessment, which is done with the Farmer Support and Loyalty Tool. This tool has been developed by Solidaridad, with support of Raízen, Socicana (farmer association) and Agency NL (Dutch government). Results showed that farmers have varying levels of compliance with relevant social and environmental standards. The assessment revealed where farmers can invest to comply with best in class world standards.
Better support for farmers
The self-assessment helps farmers understand their own performance levels better according to national and international references and compares it with that of their peers. A specially designed software program generates an automatic individual recommendation report for improving practices for those points where farmers are performing below standard.
The software can also generate reports that contain performance data of groups of farmers. This information allows farmer associations and mills to tailor-make their support programs to the needs of farmers. Daví Araujo of Raízen commented: “This tool is a game changing initiative and essential for our company to reach its objective to crushing cane that has been demonstrated to be grown sustainably. It will make the road to Bonsucro certification much more achievable for growers. We have the intention to roll it out over all our 4200 suppliers.”
The tool immediately attracted the attention of farmers and millers from Colombia, Malawi and Australia. Solidaridad is committed to make it available both inside and outside Brazil. Pieter Sijbrandij of Solidaridad in Brazil: “This is a great first step, but we now have to scale up the implementation of this tool and support activities that go with this in Brazil. When we take it to other countries, we have to load it with the reality of the sector there – to make it relevant to the local farmer.”
The development of the Producer Support & Loyalty Tool has partially been financed through a grant from the Global Sustainable Biomass Programme that is implemented by Agency NL with funding from the Dutch government.
Read about the first Bonsucro certified ethanol in Europe
International programme coordinator Sugarcane Sven Sielhorst about Bonsucro