Created with the objective of supporting the development of sustainable production systems for family agriculture in Paraná, References Networks for family agriculture base their actions on a set of properties representing certain system of agricultural production, generating technical and economic references for rural producers in the State 

Together, with more than 200 families of farmer employees, these teams have implemented a methodology for research and development (P&D) adapted from the experience of the Institut l'Élevage of France, seeking validation and transfer of viable technologies for the studied production systems.

 

A - General Informations

 

START: June 1998 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY:  Agronomic Institute of Paraná (IAPAR) and Paraná Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (EMATER-PR) 

PARTNERS: CONSEPA (National Council of State Agricultural Research Organizations), CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development), FINEP (Financier of Studies and Projects), Institut de l´Élevage (France), Itaipu Binacional, Ministry of Agrarian Development, Petrobras – PetróleoBrasileiro S/A and Secretary of State for Science and Technology-SETI

PRESENTED BY: Dimas Soares Junior, Rafael Fuentes Llanillo, Edson Diogo de Almeida.

RESOURCES: Own and third parties

VALUE RANGE: Above US$25 mil

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Agriculture

KEYWORDS: Family Agriculture, Production Systems, References Units, Farm Management, Coordination, Research and Extension, Reference Networks

TARGET: Family farmers

LOCATION: Rural area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: State

SPECIFIC DEPLOYMENT AREACurrently in 12 administrative regions of the Emater Institute: Apucarana, Campo Mourão, Cascavel, Cianorte, Francisco Beltrão, Laranjeiras do Sul, Maringá, Pato Branco, Ponta Grossa, Toledo, Umuarama and União da Vitória

 

B - Description of practice

 

1 -BACKGROUND

The systematic of the extension of the work during the years 80-90 was based on the punctuality of ATER (assistance to specific problems existing in operation), in the absence of a vision which did not provide for the planning of the property in a medium-and long-term, actions "inside the gate", and works in technical actions (agricultural) with reduced educational activity.

IAPAR began in the early 80, the development of researches on systemic approach, which later had a significant importance in the Institute's research agenda.

So in 1998, networks of references were implemented for family agriculture, pioneering work on joint research and outreach efforts, with the participation of farmers in the State of Paraná. Such methodology was developed in light of the fact that the efforts of public and private agencies for research and development did not allowed the achievement of a dynamic interaction among the other instances. That is, design (research), transfer (extension) and use of technical and scientific activity (farmers), and finally, the sustainability of various sectors of agricultural production.

The proposal arose from the adaptation of a work method developed in France, by the Institut l´Élevage, and its deployment coincided with the beginning of the program "Parana 12 Months". Project development-driven, and in which the work on networks had as its main function to serve as a basic support for the intensification of production in certain regions of the State of Paraná with more stabilized productive base.

 

2 - GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Support the development of sustainable production systems for family agriculture, offering technologies and/or activities that enhance the efficiency of production systems.

Specific objectives:

  • Raise the main demands for research from the diagnostics in production units; 
  • Perform tests, adjusts and validation of technologies;
  • Provide information and propose methods to guide farmers in rural property management;
  • Serve as training and broadcast polo of technicians and farmers; and
  • Support the formulation of public policies for sustainable development of family farming.

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

The organizational structure of the project comprises:

•in the State, "an articulator of IAPAR and EMATER" with the mission of managing the interface between the institutions and work for proper functioning of the systems;

•in the mesoregion, research and development centers (diffusion), formed by interdisciplinary teams of experts with the role of "cheer, support and coordinate" works in the systems of references; and

•in the region, where everything effectively happens-there must be ten properties networks installed in each of the administrative regions of EMATER. Each advisory officer is responsible for monitoring technically a set of 20 reference properties, with four or five different systems. There are still technical committees that are deliberative bodies that have, among others, the purpose of making reflections about the main agricultural production systems. Are formed by "representative bodies" of rural producers and members of the regional commission of Parana 12 Months and "development agents" (IAPAR, EMATER, town halls, universities, NGOs and others).

The methodology basically consists of initially, carry out preliminary study on the region where the work will be deployed, identifying natural resources and socioeconomic conditions. After that, typology of production units is held, taking into account the most important economic activities for the generation of income and the availability of land, labor and capital, allowing the identification of the main production systems, by frequency or by potential as option for regional development.

With these  information, the systems to integrate the networks are selected. With the aid of extension workers in the region, farmers who represent these production systems are chosen, minimum number of four per system. The chosen establishments undergo diagnosis, carried out based on information provided by farmers and comments from professionals through field visits. The diagnosis is the basis for the formulation of a short-term improvements plan in order to reduce losses and correction of possible inconsistencies between the objectives of farmers and their families, and the production system adopted. 

In the process of implementation of the plan drawn up jointly between the coach and farmer, all data and information are recorded in order to allow the confirmation of positive results in relation to the initial state. At the end of one year, it is possible the formulation of a long-term project, seeking the optimization in the use of resources to achieve better results. The proposals are implemented in a process that can take three to five years, during the period, all technical and economic records are developed.

After the validation of the proposal, the data will constitute technical and economic references useful for guidance to farmers with similar characteristics, represented in networks. Another highlight is a typical diffusion strategy used in network properties, called the "open gate". In days defined preliminarily, the farmer and his family open the doors of their property to other farmers and technicians, and they present, supported by the Network technician, the practices that have validated in the constitution of their improved production system and technical and economic results achieved.

This method of work began to be developed in the 80s in the Institut de l´Élevage, research and development institution that works with the organizations of producers of milk and meat in France, and adapted to the conditions of Paraná by teams of IAPAR and EMATER.

 

4 -RESULTS ACHIEVED

Due to the coverage of the actions developed, the Networks present different result types:

•The nearly 400 families collaborators of the project since its deployment, directly benefiting by receiving the planning and the technical and economic follow-up specific for their production units, offered the bases for the development of other initiatives;

•Written production: the Networks reached 22 references systems, five modular references and two case studies of their most characteristic products; also included the preparation of a thesis, eight dissertations, three monographs, 41 articles and 15 abstracts presented at scientific technical events. All this production can be found at (http://www.iapar.br/modules/conteudo/conteudo.php?conteudo=535)

•Preparation of specific public policies such as the organization of public-private system of technical assistance to dairy farmers in the Northwest of the State and a municipal law to support the deployment of agrossilvipastoris systems in the municipality of Porto Vitoria also originated in the work of the networks;

•1659 _ Over 200 broadcast events between regional seminars, meetings, field days, tours, courses and others. More than 6,000 people, including farmers and technicians, participated in events that addressed technological issues, and of economic development involving production systems and activities included in networks; _ 1659

•Deployment of 80 test and validation Units (UTVs), developed in partnership with institutions such as Itaipu Binacional, and programs and projects of IAPAR supported by CNPq;

Based on information obtained in the analysis of the work of the Networks, a proposal aimed at the development to the West and Southwest Regions of Paraná was drafted, involving the cattle dairy farms, fruit and fish farming in reservoirs of hydroelectric plants.

 

5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

The project structures from the financial resources normally employed in agricultural research and rural extension. Demand above all, the articulation of human resources in a work plan with common objectives namely:

•Network deployment requires extension workers responsible for monitoring the properties on monthly visits, which fit together with research professionals within the meso-regions of work. In the meso-regions the demand is two engineers, a researcher and an advisory officers, acting together. To these, hopefully, adds a professional third party, whose profile allows to meet technical requirements of the production systems studied;

•In addition to the technical costs, there is a need for resources for the expenses (fuel, lodge, vehicle maintenance), computer services, technical support materials, monitoring forms or notebooks with the worksheets;

•To meet such needs, throughout its operation, the networks relied on the support of various partners (CONSEPA, CNPq, FINEP, Itaipu, Petrobras and SETI), which participated in the proposal by offering financial and human resources (scientific initiation scholarships and recent graduates), all fundamental for the consolidation of the project.

 

6 - TRANSFER

Although in constant building process, given the dynamics of the work, Networks are today a consolidated strategy of integration between research, extension and farmers. Between the events of transfer and diffusion of technologies already mentioned, such as regional seminars, meetings, field days, tours, courses and others, a peculiar diffusion strategy adopted in the project is worth mentioning.  Called Open Gate, this strategy defines that in days defined preliminarily, the farmer and his family opens the doors of their property to other farmers and technicians, and they present, supported by the Network technician, the practices that have validated in the constitution of their improved production system and technical and economic results achieved.

Results obtained led CONSEPA and ASBRAER to present project with the Ministry of Agrarian Development, for the installation of the work in other Brazilian States. The proposal has been championed by MDA as possible public policy for the Country.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

The practice of networks should be considered as a good practice, the ability to change paradigms, generate knowledge and allow the improvement of the technical and economic performance of the production systems. Aspects that contribute most to the success of the work consist in the fact of integrating extension workers, researchers and farmers in a common agenda, allowing the farmers to be and feel as important agents of transformation. They not only monitor but are indeed the main executors of the process. Another important factor is that the obtained results, serve as support to increase the scope of public policies, such as careful use of rural credit.

The main obstacle stems from the time of maturity of the project, even presenting preliminary results throughout the first year, demand a continuous effort for its consolidation. The unusual characteristics of the work, especially with regard to the systemic approach adopted, which juxtaposes the reductionist vision of many of the projects, and technical and institutional relationship between extension and research, which in the Networks is more integrated in relation to the traditional, also brought difficulties. Among which, the impossibility to count with the full team from the beginning, also undermined the implementation and development of the work.

 

There is possibility of visits, best time being between the months of March to November

Maximum N° of visitors at a time: 10 visitors

 

 

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