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  • Foundation program strengthens family farming in Rio de Janeiro’s mountainous region

    DATE: 04/29/2024

    Published by: Norberto Odebrecht Foundation

    A new look at family farming and a better quality of life. These are just some of the changes felt by 27 families of small producers from 8 communities in Sana, in the mountainous region of Macaé (RJ), who benefited from practices based on the Norberto Odebrecht Foundation’s Program for Development and Integrated Growth with Sustainability (PDCIS). In all, 132 local people have already been affected.

    The reapplication of the Bahian socio-environmental program on Rio de Janeiro soil aims to foster, through training and technical assistance, impacts on the productivity and sustainability of plantations for small local producers. Initiated 20 years ago in the Baixo Sul of Bahia, the PDCIS has benefited thousands of people in the state and expanded its activities to Rio de Janeiro in 2022, thanks to a partnership with Ocyan, an oil and gas company. It is also carried out in the region through joint work with the Municipality of Macaé, the Association for the Protection of Environmental and Cultural Heritage (APPAC -Tororó) and the Sana Family Farmers’ Association (APAF).

    Julio Cesar Muler is one of the Sana farmers benefiting from PDCIS

    In a diagnosis made at the start of the project, it was realized that this territory with the Atlantic Forest biome concentrated rural producers interested in environmental preservation practices, innovation in the field and market expansion, but who did not have the necessary support to improve their technical knowledge for planning their production. “This is an essential project for family farming, because through it we provide technologies that help beneficiaries diversify their agricultural crops and manage them with respect for the environment. In addition, we boosted their incomes by demonstrating new methods of selling and marketing their products,” says Wendy Wicks, a member of the Sustainability area of the Norberto Odebrecht Foundation, the Novonor Group’s social arm.

    In order to provide these farmers with the skills they need to manage their farms more efficiently, the PDCIS in Sana culminated in 2023 in more than 70 hours of personalized technical assistance, 42 educational-productive projects on 38.65 hectares and 19 hours of training. According to Kátia Santos, Ocyan’s Social and Environmental Responsibility specialist, seminars aimed at promoting sustainability, autonomy, food security and the quality of life of the communities are also among the actions carried out. “The activities contribute to enhancing the learning and development of farmers, as they learn new techniques for growing crops,” he explains.

    THE PDCIS

    Since 2003, the Foundation has been promoting sustainable territorial development through PDCIS, a social technology model that stimulates a greater sense of rural entrepreneurship combined with environmental awareness in the communities that benefit from it. For the first time, the program has been implemented outside of Bahia, and for Wendy, “it’s been innovative and exciting for the whole team,” she says.

    Márcio Nascimento, environmental manager and executive director of APPAC – Tororó, shares that one of the highlights of the program is its alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that, at the end of last year, they phased out the use of agrochemicals in order to implement agroecological management systems. “This transition is a great achievement for putting healthy food on everyone’s table, especially for the school networks that Sana’s farmers supply,” he says.

    The director also says that, given the relevance of the project, major impacts have already been felt, such as the mobilization of important bodies for support in the region’s communities. “It’s not easy to manage a program of this level. The Foundation has done an excellent job with us here. All the professionals are highly qualified, and every help and guidance in this exchange of knowledge and technology has been of great value to us,” he concludes.

     

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