Solidaridad South America delivers innovative solutions to increase production in an efficient and resilient way that fosters inclusive economic development and protects conservation areas.
Increasing demand from Asia has fuelled a growth in export volumes that is partially compensating for the drop in key commodities. China is emerging as a leading trading and investment partner in the region which strengthens the need for international sustainable supply chains initiatives.
Big data and analytics are playing an increasing role in farm and industry management and the corporate sector. Large traders and multinationals continue to take decisive steps towards sourcing sustainable products. This trend reinforces opportunities to integrate smallholders into sustainable supply chains through innovative solutions like digital technologies and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) models.
All of the South American countries in which Solidaridad works have signed the Paris Climate Agreement, with the exception of Ecuador. This provides a favourable framework to work on climate change issues in the region, especially against the risk of a deforestation re-bound in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon.
Solidaridad is committed to addressing major weaknesses in the value chains currently preventing the region and its producers from reaching their full potential in terms of efficiency, competitiveness, inclusiveness and climate mitigation. Addressing these issues will contribute to more sustainable and inclusive production and markets.
Increased efficiency in natural resources management and value chain competitiveness in existing agricultural land is critically important. Solidaridad needs to assist farmers in enhance productivity with better climate resilience to reduce agricultural losses and the agricultural environmental footprint. In order to do that, there needs to be decent work places and livelihoods for landless and vulnerable groups to reduce the outflow of rural workers.
Finally, production in compliance with environmental and labour regulatory frameworks can be stepping stone towards sustainability.
Solidaridad has helped to ensure an increase of soy produced under responsible standards in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. As a result, 2.7 million tonnes of RTRS certified soy reached the markets and leveraged about 5 million US dollars in RTRS premiums.
The Sustainable Trade Platform (STP) worked on common sustainability challenges in Colombia’s palm oil, banana, coffee and flowers.Today, the STP reaches almost 300,000 producers and workers and covers 439,650 hectares. It also has 22 public and private alliances across all sectors. In 2016, the STP added sugarcane as a new commodity for the platform.
Solidaridad has established a proven extension model for climate resilient highlands coffee production. In Colombia, this resulted in tonnes of captured CO2 captured, renewed in agroforestry systems and interventions in cultivated hectares.
In addition, a proven business model for tea small farmers associations benefited almost 2,000 family farmers and workers and resulted in tea certified under UTZ and Rain Forest Alliance standards.
- Cotton, Fruit & Vegetables, Coffee
One of the key challenges affecting the highlands coffee sector in the Pacific region is climate change. Solidaridad's climate-smart agriculture (CSA) model, in a context of sustainable landscape management, aims to have a positive impact on productivity, quality and even in halting the proliferation of diseases.
- Sugarcane, Fruit & Vegetables, Palm oil
Private organizations understand that having sustainability credentials will enable them to remain in the market and, due to this acknowledgement, they have become the perfect channel to influence producers who now apply good agricultural practices.
Small Artisanal Miners
Solidaridad's work in Peru has demonstrated that it is feasible for small-scale mining to be certified and to produce responsibly, giving small miners access to a sustainable jewel trade.
- Tea, Cocoa
Inclusive and more diverse
In order for small producers to remain competitive, finding profitable leads for income diversification is key. This can be achieved through the vertical integration of suppliers in bigger agribusinesses or through producer associations.
- Livestock, Soy
Land use and regeneration
Considering that soy and livestock are the main deforestation drivers in the region, intensification models and land use planning have been one of Solidaridad's main lines of intervention to build risk-free supply chains in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado biomes, Argentinian Chaco and Paraguayan Atlantic Forest agricultural frontiers.
Focused on landscape restoration and low-carbon agriculture, we reinforced engagement with companies and smallholder farmers in 2019. In Brazil, some of our cocoa programme participants sold their premium product at triple the price of standard cocoa. In Paraguay’s vulnerable Chaco region, dairy farmers decreased their greenhouse gas emissions by 62% while increasing productivity, and beef producers increased volumes by 60%, all using climate-smart methods.
Solidaridad South America is adapting its strategy to effectively serve farmers and companies with climate-smart solutions. We’re working towards more resilient production with fewer emissions and better use of land and water while avoiding deforestation. We work in the challenging and diverse landscapes of the Amazon, the savannas of the Brazilian Cerrado, the Colombian Orinoquia, and in the dry forests of Chaco. Innovations in digital and financial tools are key for up-scaling climate-smart solutions. The climate-smart cocoa beans from one of the producers in our cocoa programme were used to make the first chocolate from Tuêre at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.
At Solidaridad South America, the model for continual improvement to scale sustainable production has grown beyond its piloting phase. The private sector is now responding by replicating and scaling this model up. Solidaridad is making advancements in establishing more overarching interventions to integrate these in farm solutions with landscape approaches. In addition, Solidaridad is fostering an enabling policy environment to improve native forest conservation and smallholder resilience to climate change.
The Sustainable Trade Platform in Colombia concluded its first phase, proving that commercial competitors can successfully collaborate on common sustainability challenges. An external evaluation assessed this multi-stakeholder platform as neutral, safe and relevant. The platform helped to articulate standards, develop climate change adaptation solutions and support producers in making important value chains more inclusive and sustainable.
The Natural Beef Standards was launched in Paraguay with active support from Solidaridad for the ARP, the main producer association in the country. Cattle ranchers who raise cattle with natural grasses, free of hormones and antibiotics as well as within protected forest corridors, have now organized codes of conduct and guides adapted to the local situation and regulations in Paraguay. Producers used Solidaridad’s continual improvement tool to self-assess their practices and plan improvements.
By engaging with leading companies in the region, Solidaridad and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) increased the supply of soy produced in 2014 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.
Covid-19: Protect Rural Workers in the Cotton Harvest
In the midst of the pandemic, Solidaridad mobilized its partners to deliver protection kits to day laborers working in the harvest in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Partnerships for pandemic support in Paraguay
Following the mandatory lockdown in Paraguay, indigenous people in Central Chaco were unable to work or buy food outside their communities. This left them without an income and without food, since most of the crops for their own consumption have failed due to an early drought this year. Solidaridad and its partners in Central Chaco coordinated efforts to alleviate this emergency.
New partnership puts soy farmers at the centre to manage impact on Brazil’s environment
A new partnership will see the members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Soft Commodities Forum (SCF) and Solidaridad working with farmers in the Cerrado region of Brazil to adopt more sustainable farming practices. The partnership aims to contribute to the protection of existing natural habitats in Brazil’s Cerrado biome.
A call to support farmers in conservation efforts
This year World Environment Day focuses on Colombia, the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world and known for its richness of different specialty coffee origins. Here, take a look at how coffee farmers are managing nature in one of the globe´s biodiversity hotspots: Colombia
Build back better: sustainable, fair and resilient
Solidaridad has published a statement together with Fairtrade The Netherlands calling upon the Dutch government, companies, financial institutions, and civil society to seize the economic recovery as a chance to provide fair compensation to producers in developing countries.
A milestone year
Solidaridad reached 700,000 smallholder farmers in 2019 – more than ever before. It was also the year in which we celebrated our 50th anniversary and several other important milestones in our drive for more equitable supply chains and a greener planet.