CETAP technicians, when carrying out advisory work with the objective of contributing to the affirmation of family farmers and the organizations, with a principle of construction based on sustainable agriculture, within the principles of Agroecology, were gradually realizing the importance of enlarging the work with conservation and use of social biodiversity. Besides the agricultural species already known, such as varieties of corn, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, peas, among many others, sought to extend this work also developing actions for the conservation and use of the social-native biodiversity.

 

The promotion of agro-ecology, as a proposal of reconstruction of agrifood systems promoters of food sovereignty and popular role, integrating field and city in terms of interdependence within the logic of complementarity between rural and urban, originated the project of "recovery and use of Native Fruits from the perspective of income generation with environmental conservation and food sovereignty".

Therefore, the work of recovery and use of native species arises within the CETAP, as a process of maturing and understanding of agroecology, as well as the role of the entity challenging itself and challenging the society in carrying out innovations.

 

 

A - General information

 

START: 01/2001 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Alternative and Popular Technologies Center - CETAP

PARTNERS: Meeting of Flavors - Trade of Organic Products

PRESENTED BY: AlvirLonghi

RESOURCES: Third party (from fundraising and/or partners, public or private, as donation or refundable)

VALUE RANGE: Above U$25.000

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Socio-Productive Inclusion

KEYWORDS: fruit farming, Cooperation, Productive arrangements, Production chains, Family farming, Food production, Regional development, Diversification, Addition of Value, Preservation, Agroforestry Systems and biodiversity

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers, urban development of solidarity economy and social enterprise initiatives

LOCATION: peri-urban area

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE: Microregional

SPECIFIC AREA OF DEPLOYMENT: Municipalities of Passo Fundo, Santo Antônio do Palma, Três Arroios, Aratiba, Itatiba do Sul, Sananduva, Ibiraiaras, Santo Expedito do Sul, Pinhal da Serra, Vacaria, Monte Alegre dos Campos and Campestre da Serra.

 

 

B - Description of practice

 

1- BACKGROUND

In the State of Rio Grande do Sul, fruits like blueberries, butia, guabiroba and araçá, are part of the local culture. Many people know or remember how in childhood, they climbed in trees in order to enjoy the wild flavor of these fruits. However, currently, the acquisition of these native fruits or their derivatives is restricted mainly by low supply on the markets. Therefore, the consumer ends up acquiring exotic species, considered more productive by producers and which are easily found in food marketing. 

There is a significant diversity of fruit species, native of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, and that were historically neglected or poorly used. Realizing this, the technicians of the Popular Alternatives Technologies Center (CETAP), non-governmental organization (NGO), based in the city of Passo Fundo (RS), identified the possibility of generating income for the ecologic family farmers, located in four regions of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, through the collection of native species fruits in their properties. 

These producers use production systems with ecological basis, in small areas of land, with family labor and producing vegetables, beans, corn, honey, artisan cheese and native fruits, which are used for personal consumption and the surplus sold at fairs.

 

2- OBJECTIVE

The main objective of this initiative is the proposal of creation and consequent structuring of a productive chain, created from the perception of filling the exploration gap, of a native fruit market.

With the additional expectation of promoting development with generation of opportunities for family farmers, ecologists monitored by CETAP, besides taking alternatives to consumers for a more natural and healthy eating, with environmental sustainability.

Specific objectives:

  • contribute to the affirmation of family farmers and their organizations;
  • build a sustainable agriculture;
  • preserve local biodiversity; and
  • Exchange knowledge, experiences and integration between rural and urban media.

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

The recognition that the native fruits are poorly present in the systems of food production and food culture, allowed CETAP to start to work focused on the the social and economic importance and potential of these fruits, leading to conservation of the same, with these in their natural environments, or being grown in agroforestry systems. 

The entity has contributed actions that back the project "Meeting of Flavors" up for the formation of the productive chain of the native fruits. This initiative contributes to the exchange of knowledge, experiences and integration between rural and urban media, providing complementarity between actions developed for an expansion of opportunities, associated with the preservation of local biodiversity.

The founders of the enterprise "Meeting of Flavors" of CETAP staff assessed that, to obtain an improvement in economic activity in the region, it was necessary a articulator directed to the marketing of products coming from the agroforestry systems or forest remnants existing in the farmers' properties in order to motivate them to care for and cultivate the native fruit species.

Thus, the "Meeting of flavors" was set up to make the connection between the agents of the supply chain, marketing and circulation of products. It was also identified as essential to draw up different by-products from the native fruits, so that the enterprise could become economically feasible as well as create more demands for products (fruit and pulps) to farmers. 

In order to make the sale, a work of dissemination was developed through gastronomy classes, tasting events for new products, to inform about the possibility of producing a variety of by-products from the pulp of native fruit (blackberry, araçá, butia, guava, jaboticaba, guabiroba, uvaia, acai-juçara, pine nuts). Because of this, the "chain of Native Fruit" was elected, in 2012, to participate in the agreement between the State of Rio Grande do Sul, through the Secretariat of Solidarity Economy and Support for Micro and Small Business in the State of Rio Grande do Sul (Sesampe), and the Foundation of Education for the Association-(FEA/Colacot), within the framework of the project "International Cooperation in the field of economic solidarity between Rio Grande do Sul and countries of Latin America and Caribbean".

 

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

Currently, the productive chain of the Native Fruit in the area of direct operation of CETAP in partnership with the Meeting of Flavors has the participation of:

  • 150 families of ecologic farmers, in addition to partner entities, NGOs, associations, cooperatives, municipalities and enterprises of solidarity economy in 17 municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul
  • 69 areas with agroforestry systems in the State;
  • 05 pulp processing units of native fruits installed;
  • 03 community pine nuts processing units;
  • Installation of 01 processing unit for development in final products, in the city of Passo Fundo;
  • The main products of this productive chain to highlight are: pine nuts wafer, native fruit popsicles, snacks (pine nuts fried pastry, pine nuts croquette, butia fried pastry), the guabiroba pulp, red araçá, guava, jaboticaba, butia and bergamot, and finally, native fruit ice creams; 
  • From an economic point of view, these activities use media for marketing of the products described, a total value of: approximately R$ 15,000.00 per month or R$ 180,000.00 per year.

 

5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

Recovery actions and use of native fruits along with the implementation of proposed deployment and agroforestry management developed by CETAP in 15 years of work, has had the support of various actors at different times, including the Federal and State Government, international cooperation entities and the private sector. More recently, there has been a search for of the City Halls, in the municipalities where the work is developed.

Human Resources - 02 professionals of the technical team of CETAP and Meeting of Flavors in real time. Variable number of technicians to monitor the agroforestry areas, as well as for technical assistance in the development of products from native fruits and construction of marketing alternatives.

Material Resources - the project led to the acquisition of diverse equipment, such as: pulp processer, freezer cabinets, manual totes, tanks, sealers, equipment for installation of small units of fruit pulp processing with the groups and families of farmers. Acquisition of other equipment for the processing of the pine nuts, as electric grinders/chippers, peeler, freezer and sealer.

Infrastructure - Finally, the project has structured and equipped the installation of a processing unit for development in final products, the pulps and the pastry. Together with the "Meeting of Flavors" a fair-kit was acquired, i.e. a set of equipment that allows the groups and enterprises to participate in various trade fairs to sell their products.

Marketing: Resources are invested annually in preparation of dissemination material such as: manuals, technical brochures, pamphlets and banners.

 

6 - TRANSFER

The experience developed has generated several moments of reflection and exchange of experiences within the framework of Ecovida Agroecology Network, State of Rio Grande do Sul. Direct result of this is that as of 2014, a work plan was drafted in 07 regions of the State, jointly and between various organizations in order to implement these initiatives in other regions.

In addition, CETAP and the Meeting of Flavors have received numerous visits of groups of farmers, students, universities from different regions of the State and Brazil, in order to meet and exchange knowledge on the topic. The initiatives developed, were also the basis for the formulation of a program of the State Government, through the Department of Solidarity Economy for the period 2011 to 2014, directed to promotion and development of the Solidarity Chain of Native Fruits of Rio Grande do Sul.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

So far, stand out as the main factors established for the initiative, the following inferences:

  • Farmers that have native trees or agroforestry systems, in spite of the challenges to be faced, are satisfied as to the economic return of the activity;
  • The entities providing technical support services to families and groups have little support from the State and national public policies, in order to give continuity to the work and improve the processes already in use;
  • For the technicians, it is essential that there is a financing program or a form of funding that allows the purchase of materials and supplies for the farming families, in order to deploy the management of areas of Agroforestry Systems (SAFs) and improve the processes of harvest and storage of fruit. The technicians will reinforce that such a program should be structured upon the premise that this action complies with a relevant environmental function and, therefore, are of interest to the society as a whole;
  • In rural communities, 80% of native fruits pulp production initiatives, within the geographical area of operation, are carried out in informal spaces. Most participants understand that there is urgent need for formalization, however without this mischaracterizing the work. Organizational dynamics, infrastructure and legislation appropriate to this reality are necessary;
  • The current operation is deployed in order to meet the low demand with relatively high inventory for the context presented, or that are poorly held by the available structure.

As main learnings, in summary we can highlight the followings:

  • Accumulation of technical knowledge on management of agroforestry in different situations;
  • Technical knowledge about Native fruit processing. There was no knowledge on this practice until the beginning of this work, since it did not exist almost anything on this subject, and specifically, in the southern region of Brazil. With the completion of this work, it was possible to organize a procedure on good practices of native fruit processing, the same is described in a technical booklet of processing of native species;
  • Development of new recipes - with the completion of the work in partnership with Meeting of Flavors several recipes were developed for sweet and savory dishes from the native fruits, which enables to carry out training activities with food businesses (restaurants, hotels and others), so that they will include the products with native fruits into their menus;
  • The work and the experiences generated enabled the CETAP to prepare a methodological basis that can be used in different contexts, in order to promote appreciation and use of socio-biodiversity. This methodological base has as main elements a sort of flowchart on how to develop a regional "dynamic" of use, processing and marketing of products of socio-biodiversity, with emphasis on native fruits.

 

8 - ORIGINALITY OF THE PRACTICE

It is an original initiative and so far, there are no references pointing to similar initiative in the State of Rio Grande do Sul

The visitation takes place at any time of the year, limited to a maximum of 30 people.

 

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