Fresh orange is one of the economically viable income alternatives in the region of Nova América da Colina, with an expressive potential market due to the proximity of large consumer centers. In the early 2000s, Emater's technicians identified that despite the absorption capacity of the consumer market, producers faced storage and logistics difficulties in selling the orange. The aim of this practice was to structure the commercialization process in the orange production chain in the region of Cornélio Procópio. It is about establishing formal mechanisms for the participation and organization of rural producers.

At first, Emater advised the creation of the "Nova Citrus" Fruit Farmers Association of Nova América da Colina and then the Fruit Farmers Cooperative of Nova América da Colina and Region - NOVACITRUS. The Cooperative was structured to receive and commercialize fresh orange. The experience clearly characterizes the importance of the organization of farmers groups so that the products can be commercialized and have value added to them, in addition to the production verticalization. Today, the Nova Citrus Cooperative has 67 members and commercialized in 2015 a total of 316,039 boxes of fresh orange, with the capacity of 23 kg each. The billing has increased from R$2,452,000.00 in 2011 to R$5,698,000.00 in 2015.

  

A - General information

 

START: 2002(in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Fruit Farmers Cooperative of Nova America da Colina and Region - NOVACITRUS 

CO-EXECUTING ENTITIES: Instituto Paranaense Assistência Técnica e Extensão Rural – EMATER - PR (Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Institute of Paraná)

PARTNERS: Banco do Brasil S.A. and Sicredi

SUBMITTED BY: Ciro Daniel Marques Marcolini

RESOURCES: Proprietary and third parties.

VALUE RANGEAbove US$25,000

CATEGORY: Project.

MAIN THEME AREA: Socio-Productive Inclusion.

KEYWORDS: Cooperativism, associativism, market, orange, technical advisory, Nova Citrus, Emater Paraná

TARGET AUDIENCE: Fruit family farmers, Associations, Cooperative

GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE: Micro-regional 

Micro-Region Municipalities:
Andirá, Cornélio Procópio, Congonhinhas, Nova América da Colina, São Sebastião da Amoreira, Assaí and São Jerônimo da Serra.

SPECIFIC AREA OF IMPLEMENTATION: 

Fruit Farmers Cooperative of Nova America da Colina and Region - NOVACITRUS 

  

B - Description of the practice

 

1- BACKGROUND

The municipality of Nova América da Colina is part of the region of Cornélio Procópio, composed of 23 municipalities. In the early 1990s, the region had cotton cultivation as one of its main economic sources. With the onset of the so-called "Mexican cotton boll weevil", the production was drastically affected and the crop declined with the reduction in the number of farmers in the region. The region potential has justified Emater's initiative to seek new agricultural exploration opportunities that would offer a greater financial return From 1993 on, new crops have been introduced and in the following 10 years, fruit farming, specially orange, has grown in the municipality and in the region.  Despite the expansion in the number of producers and in the quantity produced, the production was stored in the properties and the commercialized individually by the farmers with outsourced companies. Because it was a costly activity, involving a lot of workforce, the farmers did not classified and washed the fruits, directly impacting the quality of the product offered in the fairs and regional trade. Producers also found difficulties in the products commercialization due to the lack of individual production scale, classification equipment and the precarious logistics structure (transport and storage). 

   

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Establishing a cooperative to organize the commercialization of fresh orange and create new business opportunities.

Specific objectives:

  • Identifying orange and other fruit producers in the region of Cornélio Procópio;

  • Advising on the commercial viability of the cooperative;

  • Enhancing logistics processes among producers;

  • Establishing mechanisms and indicators that identify the situation of the orange production chain in the state of Paraná.

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

The strategy launched by Emater in 1993 – aimed at introducing new crops capable of adapting to the conditions of the region and economically viable for farmers – has progressed consistently. In 1994, only six farmers produced oranges, in a total planted area of 9 ha. The growth in the number of farmers and also the search for better prices for the production has emphasized the need to organize the commercialization by means of a basic infrastructure for orange processing. It would also allow that sanitation standards and market demands were met. These factors led to the emergence, in a informal manner, of the Nova Citrus Group.

In order to conduct the group's activities and reflect on the organization's systematics, challenges to be faced and possibilities for action, the Emater encouraged technical visits and excursions to the Corumbataí do Sul Producers Association and the Uraí Organics Association. The term "associativism" began to integrate the contents of the methodological sequence applied in the monthly meetings with the Group. As a result of the involvement of farmers, in 2002 the Nova Citrus Fruit Farmers Association of Nova América was established.

The Association sought to develop the objectives identified by the group. Thus, in order to facilitate the centralization of the receipt of raw material, as well as the processing modernization and classification, two founding members of the Association and also members of the Secção Cedro' Friends Association obtained the donation of part of the land belonging to the latter institution. A packinghouse was built in this area with the support of the Programa Paraná 12 Meses (Paraná 12 Months Program) and, in return, the Association's own resources and workforce were used.

The ongoing increase of farmers in the activity (30) and planted area (40 ha) established a new demand for the Nova Citrus Group. It concerns funds raising for the investment on the enhancement of the product to be commercialized. At that time, the collective efforts were focused on the increase of the storage capacity, process of selection and cleaning of the fruits. The construction of the PackingHouse, the acquisition of classification equipment, and the hiring of a professional to perform pest inspection and the first registration of areas for the issuance of CFO (phytosanitary certificate of origin) have raised the quality of the final product.

The construction consolidated the group as a unit. However, the production continued to be sold with the producer's individual invoice. In 2011, with a significant increase in the production volume and new business opportunities, it was necessary to legalize the commercialization. Again, the Emater stated to hold meeting and trainings on the cooperative process aiming at constituting a local cooperative. Finally on July 1st, 2011, the Fruit Farmers Cooperative of Nova América da Colina and Region. The Emater together with the elected managers made it possible to register the Cooperative in the Board of Trade and in the Internal Revenue Service so that the electronic invoices for commercial transactions could be issued. The legal hindrances regarding tax, health, labor and social security legislation began to be met and the cooperative was able to create its own brand and to stock some important agricultural inputs to assist the cooperative members.

The cooperative's activities took place in several areas. Initially, the articulation of the cooperative with financial entities made it possible to access banking credit, especially for associates' working capital, as well as the practice of the cooperative act. In 2013 and 2014, the cooperative began to participate in the PNAE and PAA government programs, including orange in deliveries to schools, nurseries, nursing homes, etc. In 2015, with the support of the Emater, it began to integrate a consortium between Family Farming Cooperatives and to supply food products to the fairs and greengroceries in Curitiba/PR. In that same year, it began to expand its facilities for the classification of fresh orange, with the support of the Banco do Brasil Foundation and Sicredi.

  

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

The most expressive results demonstrated by this initiative can be divided into the following categories:

a) Evolution of Financial Results and Productivity: 

  • Commercialization of 7,404 tons throughout 2014;
  • Increase in the 2011 sales revenue from R$2,452,000.00 to R$5,698,000.00 in 2015;
  • As of 2014, institutional sales of the order of 42,352 kg for the Mesa Brasil Program (SESC - Londrina), through the Program of Food Acquisition from Family Farming (PAA), with the capacity to serve 20,000 people;
  • Average commercialization of 300 boxes of orange per week through the Consortium of Cooperatives of Curitiba;
  • 48,000 kg directed to the PNAE (National School Feeding Program), as well as 87 schools supplied, through the City Government of Londrina;
  • Average annual income generation of R$47,000.00 per cooperative member;
  • Increase in the number of fruit farmers in the municipalities surrounding Nova América da Colina from six (6), in 1994, to 67, in 2014;
    Expansion of the planted area from 230 ha in 2004 to 447 ha in 2014.

b) Evolution of Association and Structure Results: 

  • Cooperative members framework – from 52 associates in 2004 to 67 associates in 2014;
  • N ° of municipalities covered – from one (1) municipality in 1994 to nine (9) municipalities in 2014;
  • Construction of PackingHouse (Association) allowing the processing of an average of 250 boxes/hour or 2000 boxes/day;
  • Expansion of the number of permanent employees from five (5) in 2011 to 17 in 2016;
  • Demand for regional workforce in the harvest period; about 5800 days of work or 30 direct jobs per month, in seven (7) months of work;
  • Construction of a PackingHouse (615 m²), with washing, disinfection and selection machine; loading and unloading in covered area;
    There is also a 180 m² are with an office and meeting/dining room.

c) Evolution of Socio-environmental Results:

  • Orange supply with the Phytosanitary Certificate of Origin and environmental permit;
  • The establishment of the cooperative contributed to social inclusion, resulting in the increase of income, strengthening of the local productive structure;
  • Greater institutional credibility in the view of the government, through the financial transparency of cooperative operations;
    Representativeness with the central organization of cooperatives (OCEPAR);
  • Insertion in the market as a commercial entity;
  • Ongoing project to add value to the product, aimed at the production of pasteurized juice, and also proposals for the fruit farming diversification;
  • Greater security for the cooperative members in commercial, labor and social security transactions.

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

Human resources: the cooperative currently has a staff of 17 permanent employees and four (4) employees hired for periods of greater demand. The board is composed of nine (9) members, an audit committee with three (3) full members and three (3) alternates.  The Cooperative has a full-time and a part-time agronomist engineer, due to an agreement with the EMATER Institute, for the advisory of the board and organization of the associated producers since 2010.  It also counts on the support of an accounting firm and a lawyer.

Material resources The physical structure is composed of its own headquarters, a shed lent for use by the association, a 5,000m land and machines for the production processing.

 

6 - PRACTICE TRANSFER

The set of practices adopted in the Cooperative has been an example for other regional entities (cooperatives and associations), enabling technical and logistical support. As an example there is the experience exchange with the Agricultura Familiar Integrada - COAFA (Integrated Family Farming), the Central das Cooperativas de Processamento Alimentar e Agricultura Familiar Solidária (Cooperative Center for Food Processing and Solidary Family Farming), the Associação dos Agricultores de Bandeirantes (Farmers Association of Bandeirantes) and the Associação dos Produtores Rurais da Serra (Mountain Region Rural Producers Association). In 2014 the project was recognized in state level as finalist for the Emater's Extension Agents Award. 

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

Based on the work background developed by the Novacitrus Cooperative, the main lesson learned by its members was to work as a team, in an organized way. The work of organization is recognized as a good practice, since it standardizes and speeds up the adoption of several actions that lead to the sustainability of economic, social and environmental activity.

Experience has shown that without the organization of the association and later, of the Cooperative, producers would continue to face logistical problems and would not be able to add more value to their production. Cooperative members concluded that in order to achieve a profitability that justified the investments – taking into account the small area for orchards –, they should focus their actions on the market.

Among the existing hindrances there are: the low availability of financial resources for new investments in processing machines, working capital, resources for the implantation of the transformation industry and a truck; implantation of orange varieties (Navelina and Shamout) that did not reach satisfactory economic results; obtaining orange seedlings by some producers that did not meet the quality standard to meet production expectation; production commercialization outside the cooperative by some members; and negligence in the management of diseases by the producer.

  

8 - ORIGINALITY OF THE PRACTICE

This is an original initiative in the region where the project is being implemented. 

 

 

 

 

Visits are accepted at any time of the year, on any day of the week. Please notify at least 3 months in advance.
Maximum number of visitors: 20.

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