The Rural Sustainable Development Programme (DRS) seeks to support and strengthen the most vulnerable rural segments in the Paraná River Basin lll, encouraging sustainable agricultural production. It provides free technical assistance and rural extension to the family farms promoting the conversion of their properties to organic agriculture certified or not, beyond guiding the adoption of agroecological practices who aim at sustainable production. Also encourages increased income through the establishment of family agricultural industries.

 

The DRS is one of 20 programs that make up the Cultivating Good Water Environmental Program.

Actual results: increasing number of families assisted with technical assistance from 188 in 2002 to 1406 in 2013.

 

 

A - General Information

 

START: November 2002 (in progress)

EXECUTING AGENCY: ITAIPU Binational

ENTITIES CO-EXECUTING: Working Cooperative and Paraná Technical Assistance - BIOLABORE; Synodal Institution of Assistance, Education and Culture/Centre for Small Farmers - ISAEC/CASE - Center of Marechal Cândido Rondon;

PARTNERS: Cities of the Paraná Basin 3 (BP3); UNIOESTE - State University of Western Paraná; EMBRAPA - Brazilian Agricultural Research Company; EMATER - Paraná Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension; CPRA - Reference Center for Agroecology of Paraná; IAPAR - Agronomic Institute of Paraná; COAFASO - Cooperative Family Agriculture and Solidarity of Western Paraná; COOFAMEL - Cooperative Partnership Agrofamiliar Beekeepers West Coast; COOPERFAM - Agroecological Cooperative and Family Industry; COOPERMAIS - Agrofamiliar Cooperative Vera Cruz West; COOPRAFA - Cooperative Producers Family Agriculture; COPERCAM - Cooperative Marketing and Processing Peasant; GRANLAGO - Organic Producers Cooperative; AAFASPI - Family Farming Association of São Pedro do Iguaçu; AAFEMED - Association of Family Farmers and Ecological of Mediatrix; AAFO March 1 - Municipal Association of Family Farming and Organic March 1; ACEMPRE - Central Association of Ecological Producers; ADAF - Association of Family Farming of Diamante; AMPAS - Municipal Association of Small Farmers of St. Helena; APIOESTE - Beekeepers Association of Western Paraná; APOER - Organic Producers Association of Entre Rios West; Apong - Organic and Natural Producers Association of Guaíra; APOP - Organic Producers Association of Pato Bragado; APOP - Organic Producers Association of Palotina; APOQP - Organic Producers Association of Quatro Pontes; APROCEU - Rural Producers Association of Céu Azul; APROFFOZ - Association of Rural Producers Family of Foz do Iguaçu; APROMER - Organic Producers Association of Mercedes; APROMIS - Organic Producers Association of Missal; APROORTO - Organic Producers Association of Toledo; APROSMI - Association of Agricultural Producers and Organic Farming of São Miguel do Iguaçu; APROTER - Association of Organic Producers of Terra Roxa; ASPROM - Association of Organic Producers of Novo Mundo; ASSMOPEC - Association of Women Union of Small Farmers of Cruzeirinho and adjacencies; ORGAROSA - Organic Farming Association of Nova Santa Rosa

PRESENTED BY: Sergio Angheben

FEATURES: Own and third-parties

CATEGORY: Projects

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Agriculture

KEYWORDS: Sustainable rural development, family agriculture, organic agriculture, agroecology, "Cultivating Good Water", ITAIPU Binational

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers, agrarian reform settlers, villagers (seated from rural villages), quilombo population, indigenous and beekeepers, as well as their associations and cooperatives

LOCATION: Rural Area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Micro-regional

CITIES OF THE MICRO-REGION:: Diamante do Oeste, Entre Rios do Oeste, Foz do Iguaçu, Guaíra, Marechal Cândido Rondon, Céu Azul, Maripá, Matelândia, Medianeira, Mercedes, Missal, Mundo Novo - MS, Nova Santa Rosa, Pato Bragado, Palotina, São José das Palmeiras, Quatro Pontes, Ramilândia, Santa Helena, São Miguel do Iguaçu, São Pedro do Iguaçu, Terra Roxa, Toledo, Vera Cruz do Oeste, Palotina. 

SPECIFIC IMPLEMENTATION AREA: The programme attends family farmers, with an interest in organic agriculture, inserted in the Paraná River Basin III. The programme was implemented in 25 cities cited in accordance with the interests of municipalities and farmers' organizations in achieving partnership. Thus, the DRS programme develops differently in each city depending on the mobilization of farmers. The action in those city requires the presence of at least one technician per city.

 

 

B - Practice Description

 

1- BACKGROUND

In a diagnosis made ​​in 2002, covering 16 municipalities called bordering the Itaipu reservoir, revealed the existence of only 188 organic farmers or conversion that had free technical assistance offered by CAPA and EMATER. Of this total, 90% typically characterized within the family farm with the following main activities in order of importance and income generation: milk production - 48.4%; (soybean and corn) - 37.1%; horticulture - 29%; small animals (pigs and chickens) - 21%; cassava - 12.9% and tobacco - 11.3%.

The same diagnosis showed a great potential for expansion of organic agriculture in the region due to the interest of new farmers in joining the project. But one of the main obstacles for the potential had not taken place at the time was the lack of technical assistance. From that moment, Itaipu begins to perform contracts and agreements with institutions that provide this service in the region to expand the Technical Assistance and Rural Extension.  

Another weak point was the processing and marketing of products which were sold directly to the consumer or in fairs, in small volumes. In the years following the implementation of the programme an organizational work was carried out and expansion of these points of sale in retail. There was also a difficulty in product certification by the high cost, which was solved with the creation of Ecocide Network Core articulated by CAPA, that relying on ATER network, reducing certification costs. At the beginning of the project there were 11 associations of farmers in the programme area of ​​operation, with no integration between them.

In 2002 was prepared by a technical committee an expansion project proposing the creation of a management group composed of 8 organizations that would be responsible for leading actions for the development of the programme. This group was the forerunner of the Steering Committee for Organic Agriculture, which still exists today.

 

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Support and strengthen family farming in the areas of interest of Itaipu and co-executors, through sustainable agricultural production through a network of ATER services. 

Specific objectives:

- To minimize the environmental, social and economic impacts caused by conventional agricultural production, offering sustainable and viable alternatives in medium and long term.

- Improving the quality of life of farmers and consumers, producing quality and health food, pesticide and chemical fertilizers -free.

- Support the establishment and agribusiness management of family and organic farming, ensuring added value to the products, meeting the demands of the market, health and tax legislation.

The main goals at the time of project implementation were the expansion of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension care to 255 farmers in 16 cities.

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

a) Spreading the organic production system through a network of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension focused on organic production and conversion. Guarantee of free access of family farmers to the Technical Assistance and Rural Extension with dissemination of sustainable production practices, focused on local productive arrangements. It was possible through contracts, formal agreements between the sponsoring organizations - Itaipu and municipal governments, with the executing and partner organizations - CAPA, BIOLABORE, Emater - supporting all the farmers cooperatives which are partners of the project.

b) Support for Research, Development and Education of family and organic agriculture, meeting the demands of the region, made ​​possible through agreements with Unioeste to train teachers, researchers and students. Participation in Research Network Agroecology of Paraná. Support technological innovation, such as the use of homeopathy in agriculture with financial support to the implementation of ATER, courses, seminars and publications.

c) Strengthening of certification process and marketing of organic products and family farming, through associations and cooperatives. Accomplished through: support the creation of a regional brand "Vida Orgânica", administered by Coperfam; support the participation of cooperatives in national and international events for training and dissemination of their products.

d) Dissemination of the benefits of organic food to the population, seeking the creation of social, environmental and commercial direct links, from rural to urban. Through lectures in schools, at events. Promotion and participation on events with stands, promotional materials, sales of organic products from family farms.

e) Promotion of Sustainable Agriculture, considering technical and economic aspects for the development and perpetuation of family farming. Encouraging diversification of production, improving the management of the properties. This is carried out periodically by ATER during visits to farms can vary the interval 15-90 days, depending on the type of main productive activity to be answered.

The project has an active Steering Committee, which meets every 60 days, has a regulation and is composed of organizations representing sectors of civil society, farmers and governments, and allows the active participation of their peers where the guidelines and actions are built, ensuring legitimacy in their results. 

 

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

a) Increase the number of families served by technical assistance, from 188 in 2002 to the current 1406 families, with 854 family farmers, 137 families involved in agricultural reform and land credit, 209 indigenous families and 206 beekeepers. For this audience, in 2013 were carried out 2899 individual assistance (technical visits) to the farms, 256 collective activities (meetings, field days, tours) with 4286 participants.

b) Expansion of the programme operating area, which originally covered 13 cities to the current 25, as well as the number of practitioners involved from 13 to 27 in 2014.

c) Transfer of 7 lectures cycles on healthy eating in the period from 06/10/2009 to 05/10/2010, directed to the consuming public, attended by 8589 people in 52 lectures in the 25 cities covered by the project.

Other results: 23 Organic Life Fairs with 53,000 participants; 59 institutions involved (ATER, teaching, research, NGOs, foundations, associations of producers, city halls); 10 built or expanded organic agribusinesses; advice to 22 associations and 7 cooperatives of organic producers and/or family farming; 16 weekly fairs and 10 fixed points of sale of products of family farming. The products through the PAA and PNAE has grown every year, closing in 2013 with an average of 36% of school feeding resources with products purchased from family farmers. 

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

The programme currently works (2014) with 27 field technicians, providing a vehicle for each individual and group care in rural properties and communities. The co-executors have an office, and the technical are based in the project partners cities, which are responsible for providing an office (desk, chair, internet access). Technical assistance and extension services are contracted by Itaipu with monthly transfers to co-executors, to cover the cost of services, transport, maintenance.

 

6 - TRANSFER

The Ministry of Agrarian Development – MDA - was inspired by the service model and extension – ATER of Sustainable Rural Development Programme and other Cultivating Good Water programs, such as Basin Management for the Development of Sustainable Pronaf, through an agreement signed with Itaipu and Far Western Paraná Development Agency - ADEOP, which served as the pilot for the preparation of tenders in the country. In western Paraná is running a tender (01/2012 - SAF/ATER - MDA) to attend the 1280 families.

The DRS programme also provided parameters for the preparation of the Public Call for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension in Agroecology (INCRA and SAF/DATER/MDA n ° 13/2013) which includes the attendance of more than 700 farm families in western Paraná, in 22 cities of DRS programme.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

One of the main barriers to structure a complex programme with regional dimension is the maintenance of a continuous planning of activities and actions, with periodic review and monitoring ensuring the participation of the segments involved. 

As for the target audience, at the beginning the project found itself disorganized and with a vision focused on the local market. Much effort by organizations involved in the programme so that there was a significant development was needed in the quality, quantity and variety of their products, as well as in their organizations. 

With the growth in sales to the institutional market (PAA and PNAE) and retail, the need for high investments in infrastructure to sorting centers and marketing by cooperatives and some associations was born, and these did not have the financial resources to such investments. Part of this barrier is being resolved through an agreement between Itaipu, BNDES and FPTI to enable funds to these organizations. 

What contributed to the success of the practice was the adaptation and development of participatory methodologies for the development of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension, the actions of industrialization and commercialization and integration of these. This process was essential to have an active Steering Committee with the participation of the organizations involved in the project. 

The institutional support from Itaipu through the programme "Cultivating Good Water" was essential to make the project over the 11 years of existence providing methodological, technical and financial support.

 

8 - PRACTICE ORIGINALITY 

The Rural Sustainable Development Programme originated from an organizing movement of actions for the development of organic agriculture in the region and generated a project entitled "Organic Agriculture in surrounding cities of Itaipu Lake", prepared jointly by Itaipu, Emater-PR IAPAR, CAPA, SEBRAE and Technical Chamber of Agriculture and Environment Council of surrounding cities of Itaipu Lake, in the middle of 2002/2003. Each institution contributed its knowledge and practices in the development of a specific work methodology for organic agriculture. After this initial organizer movement, Itaipu took the process leading role and formally established the DRS programme, hiring internal technical staff dedicated exclusively to coordinate the project in the BP3 region.

 

There is the possibility of visiting the practice by appointment at any time of year.

 

Number of visitors: 01-40.

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