Initiated by the Paraná Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (EMATER) in 1992, the proposal for a diversification of farms and rural organization sought to reverse the low profitability in small properties, increase the job offer and allow access to the land to those who had not. The culture of strawberry, even unknown in the region, was chosen due to high profitability per area and generated work, showing the potential to reverse the situation of beneficiaries of the project.

The results obtained exceeded the expectations and the culture of strawberry continues providing significant income and work for small producers, contributing to the socio-economic development of the called Pioneer North of the Paraná state.

 

A - General information

 

ISTART: January 1992 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Parana Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension - EMATER

PARTNERS: Municipality of Ibaiti and Agricultural Development Company of Paraná – CODAPAR

PRESENTED BY: Edson Roberto Vaz Ronque

RESOURCES: Own and third parties

VALUE RANGE: Above U$ 25.000

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Agriculture

KEYWORDS: Strawberry; EMATER; Fruit growing; Family Agriculture, Technical Assistance; Agricultural Income; Work, Northern Paraná 

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers, tenants and partners, rural entrepreneurs, technical assistance and rural extension, cooperatives

LOCATION: Rural area

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE: Micro regional

SPECIFIC AREA OF DEPLOYMENT: Municipality of Pinhalão, Jaboti, Japira, Ibaiti, Santana do Itararé, Conselheiro Mairinck, Tomazina, Ribeirão Claro, Curiúva, Santo Antônio da Platina and Figueira, State of Paraná.

 

 

B - Description of the practice

 

1 -ANTECEDENTES

In 1992, the small family farmers in the Northeast region of Parana, composed by owners, tenants and partners, experienced unfavorable economic situation, keeping them in precarious social situation and economically threatened. Given this situation, the Pinhalão and Ibaiti units of the Paraná Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural extension-EMATER proposed a project to implement the culture of strawberry and rural organization, in order to increase the viability and the capitalization of small family-owned land, the improvement of quality of life of small family producers and give economic conditions to tenants to have their own land.

The majority of producers exploited crops of coffee, beans and milk cattle. However, due to conditions such as insufficient profitability and low availability of work, experienced a decapitalization and impracticability process, with significant evasion of young people from rural areas.

The fruit-growing and cooperativism presented by their characteristics, potential to solve many of the problems faced by farmers. So, it was opted for the introduction of the culture of strawberry in the region, promoting the diversification of productive activities and organization of producers.

 

 2 - MAIN GOAL

Introduce the culture of strawberry in Northern Paraná, aimed at the diversification of holdings, the strengthening of family agriculture, the increase of the quality of life of the rural family and the reduction of transference of rural young people and tenants to the major urban centers, through increased income, availability of work and rural organization.

Specific objectives:

•Diversify family agriculture in the region;

•Introduce the culture of strawberry in the region;

•Promote the organization of family farmers through formal groups;

•Improve the quality of life of family farmers through increased income;

•Train and qualify technicians and producers in fruit growing, generating technical reference on the culture of strawberry;

•Create a producer organization (cooperative family farming).

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

Initially the strategy used was the discussion among the producers and presentation of the viability of strawberry, its potential for profitability, job generation and its suitability for family production model. Even at the beginning, because it is a culture little-known by producers and technicians of the region, there was a training schedule that included trips to producing regions in the State of São Paulo (Atibaia) and Minas Gerais (Pouso Alegre region) to know more and evaluate the dynamics of strawberry production, technical training courses and intensive technical assistance.

The project was initially deployed on 8 acres with approximately 480.000 plants in three municipalities: Pinhalão, Ibaiti and Conselheiro Mairinck. The first properties where the culture was implemented were used as demonstration units, where they were held technical meetings and field trips with producers and technicians, in order to disseminate and expand the development of strawberry. This action was made possible by the partnership between the Institute EMATER and the Development Company of Paraná – CODAPAR, which produced the strawberry seedlings for the producers.

Discussions about rural organization, targeting mainly the foundation of a cooperative, were conducted through discussion forums, where the goal was to find solutions to problems commonly faced in the deployment of a new culture, especially in traditionalists regions.

The Institute also provided a multi-institutional technical group responsible for planning and executing the work on fruit growing in the region, giving continuity to the strawberry project.

 

4 - OBTAINED RESULTS

The number of benefited, directly or indirectly, with the implementation of the culture of strawberry is currently estimated at over 1500 families, located in various municipalities of the Northern Parana. Among the main results obtained with the implementation of the project are:

•Greater structuring of the properties with the purchase of tractors and equipment, cold rooms, production vehicles, irrigation systems, greenhouses, etc.;

•Creation of the cooperative, which currently has 32 members, for the acquisition of inputs and direct marketing of the production, which provides more income and lower cost to the producer;

•Generation of technical knowledge through regional studies carried out by local professionals and partnerships with research institutions, such as the State University of Londrina – UEL and the Federal University of Paraná-UFPR, transforming the region in technical reference in the strawberry production chain, with the publication of 3 books, 1 article and participation in other published works;

•Improvement in the quality of life of the families involved;

•Injection of financial resources in the regional economy, capitalizing family farming and strengthening the economy of the small municipalities;

•Higher technical qualification and strawberry producers, ensuring better quality of production, environmental and social sustainability, safety at work for producers and food safety for the consumers with products free of contamination;

•Technology adoption of biological control of pests and disease and environmental suitability of the properties;

•Permanence of the Young people in rural activities.

Economic quantification of strawberry production in the region (2014 to 2015 crop):

•Planted area of 150 ha with about 7.35 million plants and more than 350 producers;

•Evolution of productivity – of 500 to 600 g/plant early in the project to 800 to 1200 g/plant in the last harvest;

•Estimated production of 7500 t of strawberry in 2015, representing 21% of the State strawberry production;

•Estimated net revenue of R$ 35.000/ha;

•Use of labor-9 persons/ha/year fulltime + 10 to 20 people/ha/year halftime, providing approximately 2000 direct and indirect jobs.

Northern Paraná became the second largest strawberry producer pole in the State, according to monitoring of the evolution of the area and production of the Department of Agriculture and Food Supply – SEAB.

 

5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

The resources used for the implementation of the project were:

- 1 agricultural engineer, vehicle and operating expenses (Institute EMATER);

- Physical structure for seedling production in the beginning of the project (CODAPAR).

 

6 - TRANSFER

The project, since its introduction, presents expansion of production area of culture and continuous trend of increase. For this, the Institute EMATER promotes the training of producers in new production technologies, giving priority to less aggressive techniques to humans and to the environment. The transfer also occurs with the visit of producers and technicians of other regions and through the publication of technical material on the culture.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

With the implementation of the project of introduction of culture of strawberry in small family properties in the region, the Institute EMATER proved that, despite being a technical and economic action, presents significant benefits such as the contribution to the improvement of the quality of life by providing occupation and income and consequently the improvement factors such as housing, food, health , education, leisure, etc. Many Strawberry farmers currently produce other fruits such as passion fruit, common grape, pineapple among others, seeking to diversify their investments, raising the technological and administrative standard and maximizing income.

It was identified that the work of rural extension, using its methodology of technical meetings and of boosting, excursions, courses, technical and other assistance, provides the basic conditions for the implementation of a project of this nature. Currently, as a project complementation, a strawberry certification process for obtaining a certified production is being made, using the Protocol of "integrated fruit Production" – Brazil PIF (Strawberry PIMo). This will provide, as a result of new technologies adopted, a safe product to the consumer, the producer and the preservation of the environment.

Among the obstacles to greater expansion of culture in the region, can be cited the low availability of manpower, technical issues related to a reduced number of researches, low seedling quality and pesticide use, infrastructure difficulties as lack of cold chambers, tractors and equipment, and excess of intermediaries in the process of commercialization. Even though these obstacles have been minimized through the organization of farmers and higher technical training and environmental awareness, there are still issues to be resolved, concerning the strengthening of the cooperative (vehicles and cold chambers).

With respect to the process of commercialization of the product, it was identified the need for a long awareness and maturity work in the organization. This work resulted in the establishment of the cooperative of Fruit, Oleraceous and Flowers Producers of the Pioneer North-COOFRUNORPI, which is preparing to begin strawberry marketing processes.

 

A visit to the practice is available at any time, with previous appointment, preferably between the months of July and August

Number of visitors: Up to 10 people.

 

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