The presented practice reports the experience that has been developed since 2013 and articulated among the Emater/RS-Ascar – through the Cooperativism Unit of Erechim/RS (UCP) –, the 7th Regional Education Coordination, the Municipal Council of Food and Nutrition Security, the School Feeding Council and the City Government of Passo Fundo/RS – through the School Nutrition Coordination and the Cooperatives of Family and Peasant Farming of the municipality and the region of Passo Fundo/RS and surrounding regions (Coonalter, Agroleite, Coopervita, Cooptar, Coperlat, Coopafs, Extremo Norte, Cooperametista and Cecaf). The experience triggering aimed at articulating and motivating the Family Farming organizations and National School Feeding Program's (PNAE) Entity and Executing Units to make the food marketing process between family farming and the public school network of Passo Fundo more dynamic. 

The practice presents the mutual efforts, which had allowed methodologies, tools, learnings, intercooperation and actions to be built and generate positive results. To apply the work methodology, a cohesive team was set up, with a correct understanding of the legal and operational aspects, and the PNAE's purposes, not only as a marketing policy but also as a way of reallocating the income, of productive inclusion, as well as of promoting food security and sovereignty. Among the results achieved are: the organization and optimization of the family farming food production acquisition processes by means of Unified Public Calls for Proposals in the state education network and the use of Public Call for Proposals in the municipal school network of Passo Fundo/RS; the expansion of the acquisitions of family farming in terms of food volume and diversity; the expansion of the number of farmers who are represented by their cooperatives; and the development of a cooperative spirit among cooperatives, through the need for complementarity in food supply, as well as in transportation and distribution logistics services.

 

A - General information

 

START: 2013 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITIES: Associação Riograndense de Empreendimentos de Assistência Técnica e Extensão Rural (Rio Grande do Sul's Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Projects Association) and the Associação Sulina de Crédito e Assistência Rural - Emater/RS-Ascar (Sulina Credit and Rural Assistance Association - Emater / RS-Ascar).

PARTNERS:  MDA (Ministry of Agrarian Development) through the ATER (Technical Assistance and Rural Extension) Public Calls for Proposals - SAF/ATER 4/2012 and 6/2012;
- SDR (Secretariat for Rural Development, Fishery and Cooperatives) through the Cooperative Extension Program (PEC);
- COMSEA (Municipal Council for Food and Nutrition Security);
- CETAP (Center of Popular Alternative Technologies);
- 7th CRE (Regional Education Coordination);
- CNE (School Nutrition Coordination of the City Government of Passo Fundo/RS);
- CAE (School Feeding Council);
- Metal workers' Union of Passo Fundo, Marau and Tapejara / RS;
- Cooperatives of family and peasant farming of Passo Fundo/RS and other regions of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (COONALTER - Alternative Labor and Mixed Cooperative; AGROLEITE - Cooperative of Milk Producers of Passo Fundo; COOPTAR - Cascata Cooperative of Farming Production; COOPERLAT - Pontão Agriculture and Livestock Dairy Cooperative; COOPAFS - Family Farmer's production cooperative of Sarandi and Region; COOPERVITA - Terra e Vida Agriculture and Livestock Production Cooperative; CECAF - Central Family Farming Commercialization Cooperative; COOPERAMETISTA - Cooperative of Grape and By-products Farmers of Ametista do Sul; EXTREME NORTE - Mixed Cooperative of Agroindustrial Family Farming of Alpestre; and COOMAFITT - Mixed Cooperative of Family Farmers of Itati, Terra de Areia and Três Forquilhas).

SUBMITTED BY: Angélica Leoni Albrecht, Cleunir Augusto Paris, Jhonatan Munaretto Imlau, Leonardo Borcioni, Murilo Correa Marcon

RESOURCES:  Own 

VALUE RANGE: US$ 5,000 - US$ 10,000

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEME AREA: Food and Nutrition Security

KEYWORDS: Cooperativism, school feeding, family farming, National School Feeding Program (PNAE), public call for proposals and Emater/RS-Ascar.

TARGET AUDIENCE: City governments; state schools; cooperatives of family and peasant farming.

LOCATION: Urban area

GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE: Municipal

SPECIFIC AREA OF IMPLEMENTATION: Municipality of Passo Fundo - RS

 

B - Description of the Practice

 

1- BACKGROUND

After the Law no. 11,947, dated June 16th, 2009, it became mandatory that at least 30% of the funds passed on by the Fundo Nacional de Desenvolvimento da Educação - FNDE (National Fund for Education Development) for the purchase of school feeding must be invested products from Family Farming through its organizations, prioritizing the agrarian reform settlements, traditional indigenous communities and quilombola communities. The operation of the PNAE is a responsibility of each Executing Entity (EEx.) or Executing Unit (UEx), which defines the operationalization of food acquisition in family farming. In the state school network of Passo Fundo/RS, until the second half of 2014, the management of the purchase of food from family farming was decentralized, that is, each school purchased food individually. This procedure, performed in more than 30 state schools, made it difficult for the different parties to manage and control the process. The cooperatives were not aware of the total demand since the procedures for Public Call, qualification and selection of suppliers, conducted by each school individually, made commercialization bureaucratic and unviable. Schools had difficulty mapping suppliers and products, and therefore did not meet the minimum percentage established by law, reaching 29% in 2013.

In the municipal school network of Passo Fundo, until the first half of 2015, purchases from family farming were made under specified conditions in the bidding modality provided for in the Law 8.666/93. Several local and regional organizations presented sales proposals. However, due to the prioritization of the "lowest overall price per item", the access to commercialization was restricted to the entities which offered the lowest price and the total quantity per item. In 2013, there were 13 organizations in the Passo Fundo region which where interested in providing food products. However, due to the criteria established by the competition, only four won it. Therefore, in order to stimulate the farmers economic and social development, and the participation of local cooperatives, the Public Call for Proposals can be considered an acquisition instrument fairer than the bidding, once it meets Family Farming peculiarities.

The meeting between family farming and school feeding organizations in the city of Passo Fundo/RS – aiming to build collective strategies to overcome the bottlenecks that hindered the operationalization of the PNAE – was made possible by means of the implementation of ATER's Public Calls for Proposals for cooperatives, (SAF/ATER 04/2012 and SAF/ATER 06/2012) proposed by the Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA) and implemented by Emater/RS-Ascar through the Cooperativism Units (UCP). These calls, initiated in 2013, fostered ATER services provision for the management qualification, strengthening and insertion of family farming cooperatives in institutional markets. In these activities it was possible to envision opportunities to overcome the difficulties of acquiring food from family farming through a Unified Public Call for Proposals in the state school network, and the beginning of the talks with the municipal network aiming at the adaptation of the "Lowest price" acquisition to Public Call.

 

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Articulating and motivating the organizations of Family Agriculture, Entity and Executing Units of the National Program of School Feeding (PNAE), aiming to maximize the process of commercialization of family farming food to the Passo Fundo/RS public school system.

Specific objectives:

  • Promoting the articulation of the parties in an emancipating, horizontal, positive and propositional manner in order to bring family farmers food suppliers closer to the Passo Fundo/RS public school system, who are executing the National School Feeding Program (PNAE);
  • Implementing the Unified Public Call for Proposals in state schools for food acquisition from family farming;
  • Implementing the process of food acquisition from family farming by means of Public Call for Proposals in the public school network;
  • Stimulating and qualifying the food supply in terms of scale, quality and diversity, so that it meets the schools' demand;
  • Increasing the food volume sold by family farming cooperatives and the percentages acquired by the state schools and the City of Passo Fundo, through the PNAE.  

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

The execution of ATER's Public Calls for Proposals for cooperatives and the Programa de Extensão Cooperativa – PEC/RS (Cooperative Extension Program), by Emre/RS-Ascar's Erechim Cooperativism Unit, stimulated that meetings for parties articulation were held. They treated legal and operational aspects of the PNAE, establishing a favorable environment for dialogue and promoting the approach between cooperatives, ATERS agents, the City Government of Passo Fundo/RS, School Feeding Council (CAE), Municipal Council for Food and Nutrition Security (COMSEA), 7th CRE (Regional Education Coordination) and state schools about possibilities of commercialization and overcoming existing difficulties. Thus, a joint and participative process was initiated contemplating improvement actions, identifying and proposing alternatives for overcoming eventual difficulties.

Based on the premise of clarifying the processes; emphasizing inclusion, equity, transparency and legitimacy aspects; visualizing the entire production chain from the food production to its consumption by students of the public school system, the identification of the practice potential began to take place by means of meetings between supply and demand parties, .

Articulation, qualification and motivation events promoted by the Erechim Cooperativism Team of Emater/RS-Ascar were fundamental to the triggering of the propositional process. It is possible to enumerate and quantify the following events occurred in the period between 2013 and 2015: 05 Seminars on PNAE and Cooperativism with the exhibition and tasting of food from family farming; 01 PNAE and Cooperativism Workshop; 18 articulation and planning meetings; 02 PNAE demand studies in Passo Fundo/RS; 15 guidance visits at the 7th CRE and at the School Nutrition Coordination of the City Government of Passo Fundo/RS (CNE); 30 technical visits in cooperatives with a specific approach on the organization of production and legal and operational aspects of the PNAE; 01 intercooperation meeting, and 03 operation monitoring and evaluation meetings.

From the knowledge of the reality and the difficulties pointed out by the schools and supplying cooperatives, elements were gathered for the construction and adoption of alternative methodologies and tools. In the state school network of Passo Fundo/RS, coordinated by the 7th CRE, the methodology adopted in the experiment was carried out after approach meetings between the parties, aiming at elaborating the Unified Public Call for Proposals, when a plan – with actions and activities to be carried out – was defined. This plan began by raising the awareness at schools in Passo Fundo about the legal and operational procedures of the applicable legislation. The supply proposal and the budget were built together with the potential cooperatives. Afterwards, the data for purchase pricing were tabulated. The cooperatives proposal and the purchase price were sent by the 7th CRE to the schools in order to survey the demand. Then, the Public Notice was elaborated and published.

During the Public Notice term, articulation meetings were held aiming at acknowledging such Notice, sharing information and identifying the cooperatives' supply capacity. After the legal deadline for the Public Notice disclosure, the Public Session for the qualification and classification of suppliers was held. The cooperatives submitted their sales projects according to the lots (schools) to which they had interest to sell.

In the qualification stage, the suppliers' required documentation was verified using a checklist. For the classification stage of the suppliers, the envelopes containing the sales projects per school were opened and the suppliers were selected according to the criteria established by the legislation. For the signing of the Sales Contracts, an event was held with the legal representatives of the UExs and supplying cooperatives in order to speed up the necessary processes to start the sales operations. After the first semester of the practice implementation, Emater/RS-Ascar – through the Cooperativism Unit of Erechim/RS (UCP) and the City Government of Passo Fundo –, supply cooperatives and the 7th CRE, carried out an assessment process with the schools in order to identify the problems and potentialities of the process, aiming to improve and continue with the practice.

At the same time and in a different manner, in the municipal school network it can be highlighted the approach with the Municipal Department of Education and the School Nutrition Coordination (CNE) – responsible for the school feeding for students of more than 70 schools – and with other areas of the City Government, such as Contracts and Biddings Central (CLC) – responsible for the food products purchase legal prerogatives – and the Department for Internal Affairs (SECRINT) – responsible for municipal agriculture matters.

In several moments of articulation and dialogue there was interaction between the CNE, through the responsible nutritionist for discussion and construction of consensual referrals about the operationalization of the PNAE. Meetings were also held with the CLC and the Secretary of Education for the purpose of explaining the criteria of the Resolution CD/FNDE No. 26, dated June 17th, 2013, and of the Resolution CD/FNDE No. 04, dated April 2nd, 2015.

The most relevant moments for the triggering of results in the municipal school network were the articulation meetings with Cooperatives, Emater/RS-Ascar and CNE. These meetings aimed at improving the acquisition process adopted by the City Government; displaying the Family Farming food supply, and including these Items in the school menus, in addition to other items that were acquired by means of Electronic Bidding.

After two years, based on horizontal dialogue, safety and reliability generated by the initiative, the city of Passo Fundo/RS and local parties, built a favorable environment for the establishment of a new dynamics in the food purchase for the school network, directly from the Family Farming, by means of Public Call for Proposals.

  

 4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

 4.1 - Results achieved in the state school network:

  • The transition from the elaboration of Public Calls per school to the Unified Public Call in the state school network, which is in its fourth edition, demonstrates the reciprocal gains of an engaging and participating methodology that was conceived by the different agents that of the school feeding context, that is, ATERS, farmers, supplying cooperatives, 7th CRE and state schools of Passo Fundo/RS;
  • As shown in the graph below, the increase in the minimum percentage of purchases from family farming – which was 29% in 2013 – exceeded 50% in 2015, based on the volumes contracted through the Sales Contracts between schools and suppliers.

  • At the beginning of the insertion of the Cooperativism Unit of Erechim in this process, in 2013, there were five family farming supplying cooperatives for the state school network. In the second half of 2015, there were eight supplying organizations already;
  • Increase of the volume of food supplied by cooperatives (in tons), which is related to the increase in the traded amounts;
  • Increase of food supply volume and diversity. In the second half of 2015, more than 80 in natura and agroindustrial items were offered. As a consequence of the production increase and diversity, it is possible to identify the value addition to the raw material and the income reallocation of the farmers associated to the cooperatives, combined with the increase of the production of food for the family consumption, which creates income generation opportunities and quality of life to the families in the countryside.

 4.2 -  Results achieved in the municipal school network:

  • The City of Passo Fundo started to purchase food for the municipal school network directly from Family Farming, through a Public Call for Proposals, initially in compliance with Resolution CD/FNDE No. 26, dated June 17th, 2013 and later with Resolution CD/FNDE No. 04, dated April 2nd, 2015;
  • The total amount traded – through the PNAE – with the municipal school network of Passo Fundo/RS grew from R$834,513.00 (2013) to R$1,146,468.90 (2015), representing a significant increase in the amounts invested in the food purchase from Family Farming. The percentage of FNDE fund transfers invested in the food purchase from Family Farming increased from 27% in 2013 to over 30% in 2015;
  • The absolute values invested, in contrast with the amounts invested with the fund transfers by FNDE in the years of 2013 and 2014, allowed the growth of absolute values (own resources and FNDE's) from R$834,513.00 to R$963,900.00, while the effective resources coming exclusively from FNDE increased from R$477,736.49 to R$515,054.92. As shown in the figure below:

  • The percentage acquired with FNDE resources represents approximately half of the total resources invested by the city government in the acquisition of food directly from Family Farming. When considering the results, both in percentage acquired with the resources of the FNDE and with own resources, the evolution of the amounts invested is positive.
  • At the beginning of the practice, in 2013, four family farming organizations provided food for the municipal school network, and in the second half of 2015, that number rose to 11;
  • The change in the acquisition modality (from "lowest overall price per item" to the selection criteria provided for in Resolution CD/FNDE No. 26, dated June 17th, 2013, and Resolution CD/FNDE No. 04, dated April 2nd, 2015) resulted In the participation of new supplying cooperatives, including those located in Passo Fundo, such as COONALTER, an organic production cooperative, which currently supplies organic food to municipal schools;
  • According to the figure below, there was a considerable increase in the acquisition of food from family farms in the municipal school network of Passo Fundo/RS (t):

  • The organization of the social dynamics of the countryside, based on the equitable inclusion of farmers from different social categories, such as Family Farmers and Settlers of Agrarian Reform and Organic. In addition, the actions and involvement of the Center for Popular Alternative Technologies (CETAP) and of the social movements and organizations linked to Via Campesina stand out.

In both articulations – with the EEx (city hall) and the UEx (state schools) – the need to meet the quality, quantity, diversity, regularity and punctuality requirements in food supply triggered the construction of a cooperation process among cooperatives (intercooperation) and, by complementing each other's food supply and distribution logistics, it was possible to meet the established demand. As a result of the evolution of the number of supplying cooperatives, the number of farmers participating in the commercialization rose from 59 to 97.

The experience with the PNAE market in the city of Passo Fundo/RS allowed the cooperatives to work with a larger scale, expanding and boosting the market insertion in other regions.

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

Human Resources: Extension agents from Emater/RS-Ascar, supported by MDA, through ATER Public Calls for cooperatives, SAF/ATER 04 and 06/2012, and the Cooperative Extension Program – PEC/RS, namely:
- Multidisciplinary team of the Emre/RS-Ascar Cooperativism Unit (UCP) of Erechim/RS, consisting of a qualified rural extension agents – an administrator; a Sustainable Rural Development and Agroecology specialist; an accountant; a sociologist, and an agronomist engineer;- Extension agents from the Emater/RS-Ascar's municipal and regional offices in Passo Fundo/RS and the Emater / RS-Ascar's central office: four agronomist engineers; an agricultural technician and a secondary school level rural extension worker from the social area with training in teaching and specialization in Social and Environmental Education;
- Twelve collaborators linked to the cooperatives, COMSEA, CAE, 7th CRE and the City Government of Passo Fundo/RS.

Material Resources: Three computers connected to the Internet, multimedia equipment (a projector/Data Show, a sound equipment), a camera, a pendrive, posters, banners, printed information materials, a meeting room, an auditorium and meals (whenever necessary).

Financial resources: From the executing agency and the cooperatives.

Logistics: 2 permanent vehicles (transport), e-mail and telephone (communication) provided by the executing entity and by the cooperatives.

 

 

6 - PRACTICE TRANSFER

The practice did not start as a reference unit. The way in which it was triggered and established turned it into a reference in the articulation of the parties in the implementation of the PNAE in the city of Passo Fundo / RS.

The articulation dynamics of the PNAE agents – used by Emater/RS-Ascar – generated tangible and intangible accumulations; many of them already tested and approved and others being constantly improved. Available through the subjects and the tools generated for the improvement of such experience and implementation in new circumstances, the practice can be reproduced based on the interest of the concerning parties.

This practice can be reproduced based on the learning that comes with practice, the narrative about the perspectives resulting from its evaluation and by listing the potentialities and limits. It can also be transformed and enhanced according to the new working conditions.

Some key factors for the success of this practice depend on the agents of change themselves, since "each one reads with the eyes they have and interprets from where their feet step on." For rural and social extension, it is paramount, for example, that the agents understand that in order to "understand it is essential to know the social place of those who look". The possibility of reproducing this practice will be established as long as the parties' interests stay tuned with the common goal.

The success of the practice has attracted the attention of other cooperativism units and Emater/RS-Ascar's local offices, which have sought information to replicate the experience in their municipalities and/or regions of operation.


7 - LESSONS LEARNED

Emater/RS-Ascar's work dynamics – developed through the Local Office and the Regional Office of Passo Fundo/RS and the Cooperativism Unit of Erechim/RS –, strengthened by the complementary expertise of the multidisciplinary team, triggered a positive and articulated process with the PNAE agents. They constituted a cohesive group with a collective understanding of the purposes of the PNAE, establishing an environment that fosters closer relations necessary for the effectiveness of the strategy of food acquisition from Family Farming, resulting in the observed advances in operationalization, production organization and food supply.

Another aspect concerns the quality of food that is provided to the public school system. When there was no dialogue between supplying institutions, it was common to offer food with different quality and measure standards, which was more evident when price quotation was made to be used for the price composition in Public Call for Proposals. The promotion of dialogue between supplying institutions fostered the standardization of food specification, packaging, prices and units of measurement, in order to equalize possible differences and offer schools the best price.

The joint formalization of the proposals by the cooperatives also enabled the EEx and UExs to know the food produced by family farming, some of which are organic. Pursuant to the Resolution CD/FNDE No. 26/2013 and Resolution CD/FNDE No. 04/2015, the EExs and UExs may purchase food of organic or agroecological origin with an increase of up to 30% (thirty percent) in relation to conventional production prices, which needs to be improved and incorporated by CLC and the 7th CRE as for the elaboration of purchase prices and Public Call Notice, stimulating through acquisition, the production and consumption of organic food. It is considered the emancipation of the limits, transforming them into potentialities compatible with the triggering of joint actions for their implementation.

The commitment and understanding of the purposes and specificities of the operationalization of the PNAE by the cooperatives and the CNE's responsible nutritionist – who has contributed a lot with considerations and the insertion of new items in the Public Cal – leveraged the acquisition of family farming food by the municipal school system.

The outstanding increase in the participation and inclusion of cooperatives is related to the continuous articulation meetings for the implementation of the Public Call for Proposals as a catalyst instrument for the acquisition of family farming food. Both for the EEx (City Government) and the UExs (state schools of Passo Fundo/RS, coordinated by the 7th CRE), the dialogue established in the articulation meetings and the cooperation between the cooperatives has changed the competition nature of the relation between suppliers.

The experience allowed the construction of methodologies, learning, intercooperative processes and actions that add reciprocal results. Some results are tangible, such as the evolution in commercialization for the PNAE and the number of food suppliers for EEx and UEx. Others are less noticeable but equally relevant, such as the approach between the interested parties and the ongoing dialogue between Cooperatives of Family and Peasant Farming – listed before –, COMSEA, CAE, Emater/RS-Ascar, 7th CRE, Passo Fundo state schools, CNE and the City Government of Passo Fundo/RS.

In a nutshell, for the process consolidation it is necessary to enhance and develop logistic, production organization, supply and budget strategies, and expand the supplying cooperatives articulation to cooperation networks.

Hindrances:

There are some threats and weaknesses that can lead to a process cool down, such as the lack of human resources available in EEx, UExs, 7th CRE and cooperatives to perform administrative routines related to the PNAE. There is a need to advance in social control and in the empowerment of cooperatives, EEx and UExs of the PNAE.

The continuity of the work performed by the UCP as a protagonist in the articulation of the PNAE can be hindered if the ATER's public policies are interrupted for legal entities (formal collective undertakings), hampering the continuity, improvement and replicability of the practice.

In the case of the Unified Public Call for Proposals, the possibility of the strategy not being recognized as a boost in the purchases from family farming by SEDUC (Department of Education of Rio Grande do Sul) may negatively impact the continuity of the practice.

Finally, the insertion of new parties without systemic understanding of the established context can create a conflict of interests and cool down the process.

 

 

 

8 - ORIGINALITY OF PRACTICE

This is an original practice without similar initiatives identified in the region.

 

 

 

Visits: Between June and November, months before the Public Calls for Proposals for food acquisition. Maximum number of visitors: 20 people per visit. 

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