Seeking Seeking to strengthen cooperative ideals and bolstered by its mission of as a cooperative system, to enhance the relationship, offer financial solutions to aggregate income and contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of members and society, SICREDI Alto Uruguai RS/SC, conceived the deployment of this project. The same is characterized by the management of rural properties with emphasis to economic, environmental and social aspects, directed at improving the lives of small producers and, consequently, the environment where they live.

 

Of the 60 properties met, since the beginning of the project up to the present time, about 30% of them reached a financial and environmental sustainability. Through diagnostics prepared by specialized consulting, Sicredi offers small producers, members of cooperatives, the opportunity of optimization of the vocation of their properties, through the choice and/or adapting to more efficient processes of production, planning and management.

 

A - General Information

 

START: February 2013 - (in progress)  

EXECUTING ENTITY: Credit Cooperative of Free Admission of Members of Alto Uruguai – SICREDI Alto Uruguai RS/SC

PARTNERS: The project is developed with resources from SICREDI Alto Uruguai RS/SC, therefore it has no financial partners. It is considered a supporter of this initiative, the company Somavilla Serviços Agropecuários e Ambientais LTDA, providing advise always funded by SICREDI. The initiative also has the support of the Municipal Government and Unions of rural workers, of the cities where the Sustainable Property Program has already been deployed.  

PRESENTED BY: Eugênio Poltronieri

RESOURCES: Own 

VALUE RANGE: Above US$ 25 thousand

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Agriculture

KEYWORDS: Cooperativism, Associativism, Family Farming, Environment, Sustainability, Income generation, Small Rural Properties, Household production unit, Quality of life, Environmental Quality, Environmental Legislation, SICREDI Alto Uruguai RS/SC

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers associated with SICREDI, in the municipalities of Cerro Grande, Cristal do Sul, Novo Tiradentes, Pinhal, Rodeio Bonito, Caiçara, Irai eand Frederico Westphalen, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The direct beneficiaries are the producers.

LOCATION: Rural area

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE: Micro regional

MUNICIPALITIES OF THE MICROREGION: The municipalities currently included in the program are part of the microregion of Frederico Westphalen, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, namely: Cerro Grande, Cristal do Sul, Novo Tiradentes, Pinhal, Rodeio Bonito, Caiçara, Irai and Frederico Westphalen

  

B - Description of the practice

 

1- BACKGROUND

The Sustainable Property Program was conceived in the face of a regional historical deficiency characterized by the lack of processes able to provide guidance to small farmers, processes directed to productive and sustainable activities from the economic, social and environmental points of view. This way, a program capable of handling the property with a systemic view of management, with an approach capable of generating financial and environmental sustainability to small producers was born.

In this way, the Sustainable Property Program proclaims the management of property, by the adoption of profitable activities and in line with the environmental legislation, and at the same time, seeks to include the maximum number of members of the family to the construction processes. For this reason, one of the most important steps of this program is the establishment of its target audience, characterized by families of small properties where it operates, and is characterized by the participation of those families in all stages of the project.

 

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Deploy a pilot program of orientation of farmers turned to the sustainability of the agricultural production unit (APU), considering the social, environmental and economic aspects.

Specific objectives: 

  • Increase in management at small properties;
  • Increase the income of the small property;
  • Increase environmental compliance of small properties;
  • Reduce the rural exodus.

  

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

The target audience of the Sustainable Property Program are farmers associated with SICREDI whose activities are focused on pigs, poultry, livestock, fruit, vegetables or other alternative land-use activities. The program was initially developed, in the area of operation of SICREDI Alto Uruguai RS/SC, covering the pilot plans of the municipalities of Rodeio Bonito, Pinhal, Cerro Grande, Cristal do Sul and Novo Tiradentes, and later, in its second step, it extended to Caiçara, Irai and Frederico Westphalen.

The farmers selection is done by the Service Units of the cooperative in the respective municipalities, with the support of Local Agriculture Departments, within the criteria defined by the cooperative, always observing the reality of each participant. Through the analysis of properties, it becomes possible to raise general information, through a quick participative diagnosis, characterized by a prior recognition of the visited reality. Elements regarding the main holdings, the structures, degree of soil occupation, strengths and critics, among others are considered. Such factors are supported by the use of photographs and footage, as well as semi-structured interviews.

From the interpretation of the data, the performance of the property is verified, comparing with the desired situation, which is reflected in the objectives of the producer. Taking into account some elements obtained on the property and market demands, a plan for the property and the activities to be implemented will be made, as well as an adjustment of those already adopted. To compose the group of participants, the Service Units have a "registration form". The managers of the units, as a rule, identify some possible participants, fill the forms and send them to the Regional Superintendent, to the Manager of the area. On that occasion, a screening of the applicants is made and then a meeting with managers of the participating units is scheduled. This way the board and the partner company for the execution of the project, select five members of each municipality currently part of the project.

After the definition of the participants an opening event of the program is carried out, where the selected producers are invited, as well as the spouse and/or relatives. Then the diagnostics of the properties are made as mentioned before, in a process lasting approximately 45 days. During this same period, the basic guidelines of the primary care needs start. With the diagnoses obtained from the property and market demands, the plans of the properties, with their respective stages or activities to be implemented are elaborated. For each property, a specific worksheet is built, adjusting the activities to achieve or maintain, or even exceed, the reference of 2.5 monthly minimum wages (reference 2014 = R$ 724.00), for each Human Work Unit (HWU). It should be noted that the practices recommended by the diagnosis of each property differ some in relation to others, due to their particularities and vocations, considering the regional traditions and activities of better acceptance on the part of landowners. The absorption of this production will be primarily from the regional market, as an example milk produced is delivered for processing in companies or cooperatives in the region. Similarly, the fruits and vegetables are employed to supply supermarkets in the municipalities covered by the initiative and pigs are sold to slaughterhouses in the region. The grains, in turn, are marketed with the processing companies or other regional cooperatives.

Finally, in relation to environmental aspects, the environmental impacts of each activity will be considered. Thus, adaptation of activities will be proposed according to the current environmental legislation, with special attention to the theme of water in each property, particularly in the orientation of capitation through superficial tanks supplied by rainwater (tanks). Other important aspects are also targets of the project, such as the adequacy of areas of permanent preservation (APPs), the recovery of vegetation resulting from environmental liabilities, proper disposal of packaging and pesticide residues. The commercial and energetic reforestation tend to be usually encouraged, as an alternative income and diversification of properties, for situations in which these are viable. Guidelines for the adoption of technologies of low environmental impact are also given, primarily on the proper use of pesticides and, whenever possible, making the control of pests and diseases with integrated management or with biological products.

Through the SICREDI funded consultancy, with a total length of one year, rural producers members of the project have a higher level of management of the resources available in properties such as:

  • The usable agricultural area-its potentials and limitations;
  • Assets - identifying the resources produced and available for the production (machinery, premises, leasehold improvements and animals); and
  • Labor - identifying the activities performed by activity, time of the year when they are performed and the time spent on each activity on working days

As during the consultancies investments in properties aimed at improvements of production are suggested, SICREDI supports the needs of members, assisting and facilitating the search of credit necessary for such an investment. However, the immediate benefit that families selected by the project access, consists of the consultancies made by technicians hired and payed entirety by SICREDI.

 

 4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

The results obtained so far by the Sustainable Property Program are divided into two phases, namely:

First Class (year 2013):

The deployment of the first class/group of the Sustainable Property Program, included 30 properties in the municipalities of Novo Tiradentes, Rodeio Bonito, Cerro Grande, Cristal do Sul and Pinhal, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. During the year 2013, 18 participating producers of first class started activities and made investments in structures or services for the suitability of properties, as diagnosis offered by the initiative of SICREDI

Although receptive to the program, about 10 participating producers of the first class did not adopt the innovations or changes suggested by the diagnostics. Still, two producers selected by the project, did not show interest in joining the initiative, even having been visited by the initiative and received diagnosis for guidance.

Second Class (year 2014):

In may 2014, the second class of the program was deployed, in a process similar to the first and directed to 30 families in the municipalities of Irai, Caiçara and Frederico Westphalen, also in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. In the second class, of the 30 farmers initially registered, 10 started activities or extension of activities according to the diagnostics produced by the project, as well as started the necessary investments in structures or services for suitability of the properties. Approximately of 11 producers, although receptive to the program, did not had the motivation for innovations or changes suggested by the consulting provided by Sicredi.

In the assessment of the evolution of the properties covered, both in the first class, as in the second class of the project (with the exception of the 21 properties that did not joined the initiative), the following aspects in relation to the activities adopted by guidance of the diagnoses produced were seen:

  • 28 properties adopted the dairy activity;
  • 23 properties have adopted pig farming;
  • 18 properties adopted grain crops (corn, soybean, wheat);
  •  09 produce smoke;
  •  03 produce fruit and vegetable.

In the composition of activities, currently 18 properties carry out activities oriented to milk and pigs production and 14 properties have more than three activities simultaneously.

At the beginning of the diagnosis, in 2013, only seven properties had satisfactory income of R$ 1,695/LABOUR UNITS or more (unit of human labor. Corresponds to 300 days of work, 8 hours/day). In other 07 properties, income did not even meet one LU of the nuclear family. With the guidance and advisory work, studies of adjustments for household income adequacy were carried out, enlarging, abdicating or supplementing activities so that, at the properties, each LU reached at least 2.5 monthly minimum wages. Currently, about 30% of the project properties, in addition to the 07 that already possessed adequate revenue indicators, increased their profitability, making a total of 13 small farms that are environmentally, socially and economically viable.

Regarding the environmental results, over its first two years of existence, a significant improvement of the properties covered by the program has been seen, regarding the correct waste disposal of pig breeders and greater protection of riparian forests. Again, this analysis does not terminate the work, but rather offers subsidies for the reflection and discussion by referring to actions in favor of environmental and financial sustainability and perpetuation of small family farms.

 

5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

The resources provided by SICREDI to carry out the diagnostics of the selected properties are intended to:

 

Human Resources:

  • 01 agricultural engineer;
  • 01 biologist.

Material Resources:

  • 01 vehicle;
  • 01 camera;
  • 02 computers;
  • Stationery-clipboards, paper, pens, etc..

 

6 - TRANSFER

Replication of the practice could be adopted by other credit institutions and financial institutions to encourage agriculture. Considering the central idea of the project as promoter of best practices in family agriculture, it can also work with technical assistance and rural extension-ATER with the municipal departments of agriculture and professional associations such as trade unions. 

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

In the course of the implementation of the Sustainable Property Program, SICREDI Alto Uruguai RS/SC realized the great need that still exists, for the creation of processes that can assist small rural producers in the management of its properties. Large gaps have been identified in relation to extensive technical assistance to small regional properties, limiting farmers to undertake the necessary changes in pursuit of their viability. The low educational level of this target audience, also contributes greatly to the limitations identified regarding the adoption of technologies and new production alternatives. Therefore, the periodic advice on the properties provided by this project is an essential instrument for the organization and subsequent viability of small rural businesses.

In short, the end result that has been achieved, contributes to a better management of family farms served by the program, noting an increase in profitability of most families. It is considered so, that according to this practice, the same might have its membership extended to neighboring properties.

Indeed, there have been improvements on the farms and in the residences, with the acquisition or exchange of improvements, thereby increasing the self-esteem of all family members. There have also been environmental gains in course, with the appropriateness of conditions laid down by the legislation and the reduction by streamlining the use of pesticides, as well as its correct disposal. 

 

8 - ORIGINALITY OF THE PRACTICE

There are no known initiatives similar to the “Sustainable Property Program" conducted by other credit agents, in the southern region of Brazil.

 

 

 Visits are allowed any time of the year. There are no restrictions on the number of visitors.

 

 

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