Upon the need to build a healthy, clean and harmonious environment with social responsibility, meeting the demands of the production chain with commitment and quality, it was created in 2001 the Cooperative of Ecology Producers Garibaldi – the so called COOPEG, formed by small family farmers. The cooperative has its activity based on organic farming without pesticides, combining popular knowledge of Italian tradition to scientific expertise, contributing to the social development of families for a better society and a cleaner, sustainable planet, encouraging the permanence of families in the field.

 

Currently, COOPEG has 46 members, is active in six municipalities and its work is focused on the production of juices, wines, sparkling wines, fruit jams and fresh produce.

 

A - General Information

 

START: 06/2001 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Cooperative of Ecology Producers of Garibaldi – COOPEG

PARTNERSHIP: Agricultural Workers Federation of Rio Grande do Sul FETAG/RS; IPÊ Ecological Center; Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Company of Rio Grande do Sul –EMATER/ASCAR

PRESENTED BYSalete Terezinha Arruda da Silva

RESOURCES: Owned and from third parties. 

VALUE RANGE: Above U$25.000. 

CATEGORY: Reference Unit.  

MAIN SUBJECT AREA: Social Productive Inclusion. 

KEY-WORDS: Family Farming; Cooperatives; Organic Production; COOPEG. 

TARGET PUBLIC: Groups of family farmers and rural producers association employed in the organic production chain. 

LOCATION: Rural Area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Micro-regional

SPECIFIC AREA OF IMPLEMENTATION: Municipalities of Garibaldi, Boa Vista do Sul, Barão, Bom Princípio, Carlos Barbosa, Farroupilha, Nova Petrópolis and Santa Teresa, in Rio Grande do Sul State.  

 

B - Practice Description

 

1- BACKGROUND

The idea of ​​a cooperative of organic farmers was created from the need to change attitudes concerning the use of pesticides. Among the current cooperatives it was not an unusual case of poisoning and serious health problems. Upon such reality, local producers turned to source alternatives to produce healthier foods.

Under same circumstances, there were a small group of farmers in the region underway of organic food production, which faced difficulties with the sale of production. When products were market offered in general, the financial return was low tuned. Upon the scenario, young people joined as well as women and couples, by means of several meetings it devised onto creation of a cooperative. 

Like any cooperative venture, initially a certain resistance by some producers was perceived in respect to the adoption of some Agroecological practices. Many of them remained skeptical in the view of the success of the project on the one hand, these initial difficulties were overcome as the cooperative was underway of being structured. 

 

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

To turn small farms with an ecological and sustainable productive envision economically feasible, contributing to future generations and to preserve the planet.

 

Specific targets:

  • Facilitate family farming economy;
  • To receive family farmers interested in agroecology, assisting in the maintenance of small farmers in rural areas;
  • Encourage the adoption of environmental friendly production techniques;
  • Build a healthy, clean and harmonious environment with social responsibility;

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

In 1999 it was created the Cooperative of Ecology Producers of Garibaldi – COOPEG, legally constituted on July 25th, 2001 with 31 members. The Cooperative had the support of EMATER/NASCAR by providing technical assistance to properties, assistance in the preparation and monitoring of projects, courses associations, cooperatives and human relations, counseling on planning and cooperative management – mainly for strategic planning, revision of laws and bylaws.

Then, it was triggered the development of an agribusiness in view of transforming the grape, the main hand craft material produced in the region, into juices, wines, sparkling wines and top quality sweet treats.

Some actions taken by the cooperative can be highlighted, such as:

  • Organic certification of raw material benefits from the Cooperative, with the support of Ipê Ecological Center, ensuring quality to end consumer and adding more value to the product;
  • Investment, as of 2008, into the diversification of activities with production of organic and fresh produce wide variety;
  • Supply facilities are monitored from their association agreement between the municipalities and the Ipê Ecological Center, a NGO which provides technical advisory services and organization of family farming, production, processing and marketing of ecological food;
  • Dissemination of experiences in cooperative and organic production developed by the Cooperative through external visits, which are scheduled along the Board, at expo fairs as Expointer, Afubra, Expodireto, Feisma, Expobento, Bionat, Grape Festival, Expovale, Fenafra, Expotchê with the support of FETAG-RS;
  • Product placement in major national networks, distributors, specialty stores, as well as attending school meals in the municipality of Garibaldi and region;
  • Cooperative Insertion in rural tourism route (Road of Taste), aiming to meet tourists from all over Brazil and abroad;
  • Decentralized management model implementation, whose main function favor the profitability of the producer, making the distribution of income on each sale made;
  • Implementation of the visual identity of the products of the cooperative, developed through SEBRAE consultancy in Rio Grande do Sul;
  • Training of cooperative costs and planning for improvement of rural management.

 

4 - ACHIEVED RESULTS

  • The COOPEG currently produces 108.000 liters of grape juice, 9.000 liters of wine, 1.100 liters of sparkling, 1.100 kilos of fruit jams and 420 kilos of vegetables and grapes in natura per year;
  • The year of 2013 ended with an annual gross revenue of R$ 2.920.000,00, nearly the double of the annual revenue evidenced in 2011;
  • Product placement in more than 10 Brazilian states, with diversified goods, providing products for large networks, distributors, specialty stores, serving school meals, the City of Garibaldi and region. Grape juice and wine with COOPEG seal has won the networks of Rio Grande do Sul supermarkets and other states such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and producers are studying propositions to export. The COOPEG was also a supplier of products for the 2014 World Cup in the national project Rural Talents of Brazil;
  • Job creation and income to farmers, with consequent permanence of families and the young in the field with increased development prospects. In addition to its membership, which currently has 46 cooperative producers, the COOPEG has more than 40 families involved in certified organic production;
  • Eliminating the use of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers in the associated properties, encouraging agricultural production without the use of artificial inputs, controlling pests and diseases in the most natural way as possible;
  • Increase in added value and product quality, respecting the environment, meeting the growing demands of society;
  • Awareness of the rural population involved in the use and conservation of natural resources.

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

COOPEG has a facility in its main Agro on the size of 140 m² and in its branch of 200m². The financial resources come from projects and resources.

Working with the Cooperative 1, a technician who guides the cooperative in respect to the production free from chemical fertilizers and control of pests and diseases without using pesticides, and 4 more collaborative in its administrative structure comprising the administrative, financial and commercial sectors.

The cooperative has different areas of organic production, currently has 48 member families. In addition to its members, with more than 40 families involved indirectly.

 

6 - TRANSFER

The Cooperative is annually visited by more than 20 groups from different locations, for the sake of dissemination of experience in cooperatives and organic production wise. The activities developed by COOPEG are also being followed by a team of studies within the UFRGS Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

 

7 - LEARNED LESSONS 

During the initial period of the Cooperative creation there was great resistance towards the adoption of Agroecological practices. At that time, the “green” word was synonymous of “ecoboring”, and many did not believe in the initiative to stop applying pesticides and switch to farm free from chemical fertilizer. Conventional producers considered the organic vineyards with a dirty aspect, because the bushes tended to grow close to the vine. Many of them almost turned down because it is not a simple conversion to switch from traditional production system to organic farming.

To the date, on the other hand, in seasons of drought, organic farming stands out for all the straw retained in the soil, keeping the moisture longer in the fields in order to benefits of the crop. The highlights also include the satisfaction of producers which detach the need to apply pesticides on a daily basis.

From this moment on, there is a great demand of new members to join the cooperative, even though the criterion is strict. The associate producer cannot target profits one and only, but also the producer need to understand and adopt agroecological techniques assisting to preserve the environment. Bearing in mind, the producer must follow the activities of the Cooperative for an entire year in order to understand all the process, from planting to harvest, throughout the process range of product.

 

It is possibility to visit the labor at any time, upon appointment.

 

 Nº of visitors: up to 30 people

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