Sustainable Cattle in Practice

The Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock, or GTPS after the name in Portuguese, was formally established in 2009 with the aim of debating and formulating principles, standards and common practices for sustainable beef production to be adopted by the Brazilian livestock sector. GTPS consists of representatives from different segments of the beef value chain in Brazil, including the umbrella organization ABIEC, meat processing companies such as JBS, Marfrig and Minerva, retailers such as Carrefour and Walmart, banks such as Santander and Rabobank, and NGOs such as the WWF, The Nature Conservancy and Solidaridad.

Field Day in São Felix do Xingu – Pará. Participants received the Manual and the explanation of its use.

The Solidaridad / GTPS programme ”Sustainable Cattle in Practice” has been active since 2012 in increasing the institutional capacity of GTPS and the application and dissemination of good management practices in different regions of Brazil. The programme played a significant role in testing and improving management practices, and developing tools for their replication.

The Group began with seven projects for demonstration units developed across five strategic, beef producing states (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondonia and Bahia). The seven different pilots were spread across a wide variety of social contexts and landscapes in the Cerrado, Pantanal and Amazon biomes, providing a rich testing experience for GTPS tools and mechanisms.

The immediate outcomes of the programme are:

1. Best management practices for cattle ranching in Brazil as identified by GTPS for dissemination and replication purposes.

The Technical Committee of the GTPS compiled and produced the Manual of Practices for Sustainable Livestock. The manual ranks the practices according to the cost, time for return on investment, technological complexity, impact on productivity and time to deployment. This becomes a strong tool for technicians and producers to assist in decision making by optimizing the available resources and the expected results. The manual was disseminated in a series of events (workshops, seminars, field days) supported by GTPS and its members.

2. A tested mechanism for building capacity of technical assistance providers and rural extension developed to increase access of medium and smallholders to these services.

The training platform for technicians and producers has been implemented and 20 people are receiving training. The platform has a forum for exchanging experiences and remote help.

3. Criteria and indicators for each of the six sectors involved in the cattle supply chain in Brazil to measure and guide continual improvement and facilitate management for sustainability.

The first public consultation was completed and the results were consolidated into a new version. GTPS is further discussing the criteria for use and verification.

4. Increased institutional capacity of GTPS to be in good position to scale up and replicate tested

GTPS has achieved consensus among stakeholders around key interventions needed to address these barriers, such as:

  1. compiling existing knowledge on good management practices, organizing it and making it easily available to any producer;
  2. training more rural service providers;
  3. helping members monitor their own progress and promote continual improvement of suppliers.

The programme has worked with 800 producers, accounting for the transformation of more than 800,000 hectares, showing that it is, indeed, possible to produce more with less.