From the good results obtained with experience in vegetable production with agro-ecological basis on only 1.5 hectares in the settlement Integração Gaúcha, in Eldorado do Sul, and by the compreehension that the transition from the conventional to the agroecological system was necessary, the Cootap decided to change dramatically from the 1998/1999 harvest, opting for the organic rice production process, a challenge to the dominant chain.

 

Despite the remaining obstacles such as the difficulty of physical storage space and insufficient working capital between producers, the success of the project led to settlements of other municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul State.

 

Actual results: Nowardays the practice has the involvement of 471 families, divided into 60 production groups, in a total area of 4,799 hectares, with estimated annual production of 475 498 organic rice bags.

 

A - General Information

 

START: 01/1998 (in progress)

EXECUTING AGENT: Porto Alegre Region Settlers Workers Cooperative Ltd. - Cootap

CO-EXECUTING ENTITIES: Tapes' Settlers Farming Production Cooperative Ltd. - Coopat; Nova Santa Rita Farming Production Cooperative - Coopan; Viamão Agrarian Reform Organic Producers Cooperative - Cooperav.

PARTNERS: Rural Development, Fisheries and Cooperatives Department - SDR/RS; Rio Grande do Sul Settlements Central Cooperative - Coceargs; National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform - INCRA; Rio Grande Rice Institute - Irga; Provision of Technical Services Cooperative LTD - Coptec

PRESENTED BY: Celso Alves da Silva

RESOURCES: Own and third parties

VALUE RANGE: Between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000

CATEGORY: Reference Unit

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Food and Nutrition Security

KEYWORDS: Food Security; Food Sovereignty; Organic rice; Agroecology; Sustainability; SDR-RS; Cooperatives; Agrarian Settlement.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers involved in agrarian reform, agricultural cooperatives and consumers in general.

LOCATION: Rural Area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Micro-regional

MUNICIPALITIES OF MICRO-REGION: Nova Santa Rita, Viamão, Tapes, São Gabriel and Manoel Viana.

SPECIFIC IMPLEMENTATION AREA: "Integração Gaúcha" Settlement, in Eldorado do Sul (RS). 

B - Practice Description

 

1- BACKGROUND

The Cootap, founded in mid-1994, began its work in order to be a service to farmers, to supply machinery, equipment and technical assistance and the conventional model of agricultural production without the use of restriction chemicals products on crops. Parallel to this work focus, the group also aimed to manage an organization between Rio Grande do Sul State agrarian reform settlements. The conventional system of production, which has in its practice the use of chemicals, generated the planting "poisoning", which little by little was putting away settlers farmers from work in the field. 

It was established then the concept that farming families settled linked to the Cooperative had to have more autonomy in rice process production, from planting to marketing, as part of the production was given to third parties. The Landless Movement – MST principles, that during its trajectory matured flags as the need of land conquest, healthy eating and social and economic integration of settled families, indicated that the only way forward was the strictly organic production. Therefore, through a technical and political decision, the new rice production format was developed in state settlements.

 

2- GENERAL OBJETIVE

Perform the transition from conventional to agroecological system in rice production in order to meet MST "flags", increase economic power of farmers and insert the settled families in the production process.

Specific objectives:                                      

  • Control the organic rice production chain, reducing the leases and entering settled families at all production stages;
  • Respect the environment, develop with sustainability, understanding the natural resources limits.

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

The inaugural experience with rice planting took place in an area of ​​100 hectares in the city of Viamão (RS), in mid-1997. From the largest membership of the families, the Rice Management Group was created, responsible for national coordinating of 60 production groups. From this, the following actions were taken:

- Organization of seminars for national and local planning with the participation of families in decision-making;

- Implementation of public policies to encourage, signed with the state and federal governments for the provision of seeds, machinery, farm equipment and technical assistance to families, as well as access to institutional markets, such as the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA) and National School Feeding Programme (PNAE);

- Continuing Education and farmers training, held annually in partnerships with entities such as Coptec and Emater/RS;

- Establishment of a technology roadmap to farmers, which includes four key elements for the rice proper management: seeds, irrigation districts, organic inputs and machinery;

- Annual implementation (in 2014 completed eleven editions) of Official Opening of the Organic Rice Crop, as a relationship form with the external environment, promotion of agroecological rice production under settlers control and encouraging the use of this product.

 

4 - ACHIEVEMENT

Financial results: 

- Each seated family involved in the rice planting earned R$ 40,000 annually on average (calculation made by Cootap based in 2013);

- Since the farmer enter in organic production, there is an estimated increase of 20% on the value of the final product.

 

Productive results:

- Increase of a 1.5 hectare area (production of vegetables in Eldorado do Sul) and 100 hectares (initial experience with the rice in Viamão) for a total area of ​​4,799 hectares planted in the state;

- Organic rice production estimated at 475,498 bags annually;

- Annual growth of 20% of new families in the production process;

- Average annual increase of 27% of planted area;

- Rice production increased by approximately 29.6% per year.

 

Social outcomes:

- Direct involvement of 471 families in rice production;

- Organization of 60 production groups;

- Greater integration between the executing families of work, met in carrying out an environmentally responsible action; 

- Personal satisfaction of the producer to offer a real healthy product to the population;

- Consolidation of significant experience of organic production in crop scale, reference in Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil;

- Recognition as Participatory Organization of Organic Conformity Assessment (OPAC) with the Ministry of Agriculture.

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

 Access to land through the Agrarian Reform process.

- Organic inputs such as rock and limestone powder to soil fix and fertilization.

- Backhoes, tractors and implements for the areas systematization and blade control of the water.

- Storage and processing rice units.

- Technical and extension ones (personal resources) for farmers training and assistance.

- Seeds supply through the State Government and partner organizations support. 

 

 

6 - TRANSFER

Given the success of the initial experiment carried out in the "Integração Gaúcha" settlement, in Eldorado do Sul (RS), the Cootap worked in order to implement the organic rice cultivation practice in other settlements related to it in the state. Therefore, the union with other cooperatives in the State Agrarian Reform (Coopat, Coopan and Cooperav) served to further increase the number of families included in this process, which already covers different cities such as Nova Santa Rita, Viamão, Tapes, São Gabriel and Manoel Viana, who collaborate so that the expected harvest rotate around 500,000 unique and exclusively organic rice bags.

The transfer form from one city to another occurs after conception of the Rice Management Group, which receives technical reports prepared in local seminars, pointing new potential areas. For example, in 2013 a family of settlers reference farmers in the production of organic rice in Tapes was appointed by the Management Group to go to the city of Manoel Viana to begin the implementation of this practice in local settlements.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

The families settled union around a single project, with the understanding that it was necessary to have autonomy in rice production, was one of the factors that led to the success of the practice. The commitment that is important to the environment and for the consumer, besides a production with agroecological base were indispensable elements for project success.

We also emphasize the importance of the organizations support like the State Government and the bodies linked to it as technical assistance, financial input, seeds and machinery provision.

Some barriers have been identified during the process, such as:

- Limitations in rice storage due to high production. Today, approximately 30% of total production are stored on an outsourced basis;

- Working capital deficiency among the settled families;

- The need for greater awareness of the "out of the gate" work, that is the relationship with the general public.

Finally, this experience is characterized as a best practice for establishing a production style that respects the natural limits and end up reflecting the daily activities of the farmers involved.

 

There is the possibility of visiting the practice at any time by appointment, preferably by morning.

Number of visitors: Up to 30 people.

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