Latin America

Latin America is one of the regions in the world that is feeding a growing global population. Our ambition in the region is to transform sectors to make them sustainable. This requires alignment from value chain actors, and implementation of practical innovations in the field and at the national level.
Growing the future: Lessons from Climate Smart Agriculture Read featured story

Where We Work

We work across Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay. We have a growing team of experts who develop innovative solutions to improve our partners’ sustainability performance, focusing on nine commodities sectors: coffee, cocoa, fruits and vegetables (bananas and orange), mining, palm oil, soybeans and tea and yerba mate.

Commodities

780,567

hectares under sustainable management

C02 carbon reduced icon

51,855

tonne reduction of carbon dioxide emissions (t2Oc2)

27,427

farmers with access to improved services

Challenges

Unsustainable Value Chains

Weaknesses in value chains prevent the region and its producers from reaching their full potential in terms of efficiency, competitiveness, inclusivity and climate mitigation. By addressing these issues, we contribute to more sustainable production and markets.

South America harbors the highest percentage of forest cover on the planet and is key for climate action. Livestock, soy, palm oil, and coffee are among the key deforestation drivers in the region. We strongly believe that environmental sustainability, and a reduction in forest and ecosystems pressure, will not be delivered if producers’ livelihoods are affected negatively and market players are not engaged with this agenda.

Farming is increasingly vulnerable to a changing climate. Unpredictable rainfall patterns lead to longer periods of droughts and floods that decrease soil fertility, productivity and farmers’ income. With no access to proper technical assistance, farmers end up expanding over native vegetation areas increasing deforestation rates.

Most informal workers work in unsafe conditions and are not paid a living wage. In the gold sector, the more rigid the rules are to move from informal to formal work, the greater is the risk of exploitation that  small artisanal miners, particularly women, face.

Though corporate commitments take place, only a few companies make concrete actions to source sustainable commodities available. Without adequate economic recognition from the market for the environmental and social value generated by sustainable production, producers’ investments in sustainable practices will run short.

Solutions

Integrated market solutions

We deliver practical solutions that result in efficient supply chains that optimize present and future resources. Our ambition is that these practical solutions are scaled by others, enabling the transformation of commodity sectors.

As farmers have rights, in most countries in Latin America, to legally convert forest land to expand their production, our role is to work  with them so that this conversion is not necessary. With our focus on producing ‘more with less’, Solidaridad aims to connect the issue of deforestation with economic and social viability. We develop production models that are profitable, improve the resilience of producers to climate change, capture carbon, avoid deforestation and promote landscape restoration in critical biomes such as the Amazon, Cerrado, Chaco and the Mesoamerican mixed forest.

We ensure that technical assistance is effective, so that producers can increase or maintain their productivity as a result of implementing sustainable or responsible practices. To this end, we develop digital solutions that optimize the daily work of field officers, provide insight on producers’ gaps and progress, and provide online training for trainers and producers.

We enable public-private dialogue to reach commitments and implement policies that create conditions and incentives for producers to adopt sustainable practices. We convene stakeholders, provide field data to set joint agendas, design financing mechanisms and sustainability policies, and improve the implementation of legal frameworks.

We work with national and global brands to increase their purchase of sustainable production, and to make field investments to leverage the sustainable performance of their supply chains. We provide purchasing guides and traceability mechanisms, develop continual improvement programs, and design reward schemes for environmental services.

We pilot new approaches and methodologies in the field of circular economy, social inclusion of women and young people, and value distribution. This helps to ensure that producers cover their costs, earn at least a living income, and offer living wages to their workers.

Achievements

New synergies, more impact

In 2023, we integrated our work in Central and South America to create more impact and synergies. We expanded our climate-smart model with incentives for carbon captures to cocoa, and prepared the groundwork to meet the new EU regulation on deforestation.

LATAM - Sugarcane highlight - MasCaña project in Mexico

CARBON CREDITS

Carbon credits are becoming an important incentive to introduce smallholders to low-carbon agriculture and protect native forests. In 2022, we secured more than 6M EUR to scale access to the Acorn Platform, through which 80% of the carbon credits’ value returns to the farmer: an interesting proposition within voluntary markets

carbon credits farmers

IMPROVED BUSINESS ECOSYSTEMS

Through Muda Cana, in partnership with Orplana, we supported 22 farmers’ associations that have improved their service provision to 6,900 farmers  (45 per cent of sugarcane producers in Brazil, the largest producer of sugar in the world). This represents about  45,400,549 tons of sugar cane/year produced on 3,791.73 hectares. MudaCana won the Bonsucro Award for Best value-chain sustainability initiative.

Improving business ecosystem LATAM 2021

GENDER INCLUSION IN MINING

During three years, the mining programme developed the first gender analysis of the sector in Bolivia, made visible the contribution of small cooperative mining to the country’s economy and consolidated the Women and Mining Network in Bolivia. This action strengthens the leadership and advocacy skills of 200 women, one of whom participated in parliamentary elections.

Women and Mining Network Bolivia, 2020

JURISDICTIONAL APPROACH

The “Chaco Sustentable” project facilitated the creation of a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform (MSP) where indigenous communities, dairy cooperatives, and government democratically established an agenda of priorities to improve resilience to droughts and other climatic events affecting Teniente Primero Irala Fernández, a district in the Paraguayan Chaco. After four years, cooperatives increased their production by 17 percent and their income by 75%, with 29 percent less GEI emissions per hectare. Indigenous communities built two water reservoirs that can hold up to 36,000m3 of rainfall water for 944 families and grew 136,000 kilos of sesame that was sold to an exporter.

Chaco Sustentable LATAM 2019

PRODUCTIVE RESTORATION OF THE AMAZON

A pilot combined restoration of deforested/degraded land in the Brazilian Amazon (Tuerê) with cocoa under agroforestry systems and livestock intensification practices. After six years, deforested areas decreased by 64 per cent, and GEI emissions decreased by 75 per cent against baseline. Families receiving technical assistance improved their cocoa productivity by 35% and their gross income from cocoa by 51%. The model has proven that for each Real invested in technical assistance, producers gain 4 Reals in income.

 RESTORATION OF THE AMAZON LATAM 2018

CLIMATE-SMART COFFEE

After three years, the first regional pilot of climate-smart agriculture ended having involved 7,361 producers in Colombia, Mexico and Peru who adopted agroforestry systems to grow coffee over 16,000 hectares. As a result, 17,500 tonnes of sustainably produced coffee reach the market and farmer’s productivity increases by 21 percent.  

Climate-smart coffee LATAM 2017

MESOAMERICAN PALM OIL

MAPA opened a dialogue space for the palm oil sector to generate agreements and action plans in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico. From 2016 to 2022, the initiative managed more than 345,000 hectares under sustainable management, engaging 12,800 producers and 43 processors. It also led to the national interpretation of the RSPO standards in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, with 33,200 hectares certified in Honduras and 107,00 in Guatemala.

Mesoamerican Palm oil LATAM 2016

COMPETITORS CAN COLLABORATE

The Sustainable Trade Platform in Colombia proved that commercial competitors can successfully collaborate on common sustainability challenges. The platform helped to articulate standards, develop climate change adaptation solutions and support producers. In its first four years, the Platform members successfully put in the market 140,165 tonnes of certified/verified coffee, 117,839 tonnes of RSPO certified palm oil, and 38 million boxes of certified bananas.

Sustainable Trade Platform  Colombia LATAM 2015

LEVERAGING SUSTAINABLE SOY PRODUCTION

By engaging with leading companies in the region, Solidaridad and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) increased the supply of soy produced under several systems of sustainable management by 1.6 million metric tons, covering a total of 845,262 hectares. This confirms that a change of mindset in producers can drive bottom-up market transformation.

Sustainable Soy LATAM 2014

Regional Programmes

A technician from Solidaridad Peru demonstrates how to create homemade fertilizers using waste water from the coffee washing process.

Amazonia Connect

Amazonia Connect is a partnership between USAID, Solidaridad, Earth Innovation Institute, the National Wildlife Federation, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Together with USAID’s Amazon Regional Environment Program, producers, companies, local governments and financial institutions, Amazonia Connect promotes and scales the adoption of low-emission commodity production to improve biodiversity conservation and support climate action in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.

Coffee farmers to climate heroes

Asombrate

 Asombrate is a program that supports cocoa and coffee producers in Colombia, Peru and Nicaragua to adopt agroforestry and low-carbon practices, while facilitating their entry into the international voluntary carbon market through the Acorn platform, as a complementary income to their main cash crop.

Regional Programs - Cargill

Cargill global partnership

The global partnership covers soy projects in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, and a palm project in Colombia. Its overall objective is to improve farmer livelihoods, increase use of climate-friendly farming practices, and improve conservation and responsible land use.

Regional Programs - Panamericaña

PanameriCaña

The PanameriCaña programme improves sugarcane production through sustainable agricultural practices, improvements in harvest and processing, and connected communities. Across Mexico and Central America, smallholder farmers and large sugar mills are putting our practical training and usable technology to work.

Pathways to Prosperity

Pathways to Prosperity

As part of the global programme to ensure that producers at the beginning of global value chains thrive through rewarded participation in supply chains, three initiatives take place in Latin America: coffee and palm oil in Colombia and Peru and agroforestry in Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua.

Reclaim Sustainability!

Reclaim Sustainability!

This  global initiative that aims at fostering genuine and inclusive sustainability in global value chains, where the voices of farmers, miners, workers and citizens are well represented in decision making, and civil society is strengthened, supports initiatives in Honduras (coffee and palm oil)  and Peru (mining).

Change that matters with partners who care. Find out what we can achieve together.

Get in touch

Want to know more about our work in South America? Get in touch with our team.


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Contact

Av. Reducto N°1310 oficina 203, Miraflores, Lima 18, Peru 

Phone: +51 1 445.4242  
infolatam@solidaridadnetwork.org

Gonzalo La Cruz
Managing Director
gonzalo.lacruz@solidaridadnetwork.org

photo of Al Cunningham of Solidaridad Latin America

Al Cunningham
Partnership Liaison for Latin America
al@solidaridadnetwork.org

Rosario Abramo
Communications Manager
rosario.abramo@solidaridadnetwork.org

Violaine Laurens
Digital Solutions Unit Manager
violaine.laurens@solidaridadnetwork.org

Continental Supervisory Board

Bernardo Roehrs
President

Roberto Ugaz
Member

Carolina da Costa
Member

María Angélica Matiz
Member

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