The practice presents works developed throughout 16 years with the production of organic vegetables in the Northern region of Paraná State, resulting in equal or superior productivity and quality when compared to conventional farming. In order to achieve it, actions were taken in the production chain of organic products; from the conversion of the property into organic management to the production commercialization. Among the actions, the ones which stand out are: use of technologies that are accessible and replicable by the producers; expansion of vegetables production and varieties; and the commercialization organization and planning by the producers (joint /individual). These activities and many other were developed by the project with the aim of ensuring social, environmental and economic sustainability of the rural property. 

Among the project's results it is possible to highlight the organic certification of 45 vegetable producers; installation of 24 demonstration units; monthly income of R$3,500.00 to R$25,000.00 in areas ranging from 1500 m² to 6 ha; monthly trade of 40 tons of organic vegetables; and food handling and packing to add value to the product. The establishment of formal partnerships with companies, the expansion to other regions of Paraná and to the state of São Paulo, and the search for supplying food by means of public policies are facilitators for this process.

 

A - General information

 

START: September 1999 (in progress).

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

CO-EXECUTING ENTITIES: Rio de Una LTDA.

PARTNERS: Banco do Brasil S.A., Rural Union, SENAR/PR.

SUBMITTED BY: Ernestina Izumi Muraoka.

RESOURCES: Own.

VALUE RANGEAbove US$25,000.

CATEGORY: Project.

MAIN THEME AREA: Socio-Productive Inclusion.

KEYWORDS: Organic production, organization, Emater PR, planning, sustainability, oleracea, vegetables.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers and producers associations.

GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE: Micro-regional. 

Micro-region municipalities:
Uraí, Rancho alegre, Jataizinho, São Sebastião da Amoreira, Congonhinhas, Cornélio Procópio, Santa Mariana, Ibiporã, Londrina. 

SPECIFIC AREA OF IMPLEMENTATION: 

Rural communities of the municipalities listed above.

  

B - Description of the practice

 

1- BACKGROUND

In 1999, in the municipalities of Uraí, Assai, Jataizinho, Rancho Alegre, São Jeronimo da Serra, Londrina, Apucarana, São João do Ivaí, Bandeirantes and Carlópolis, the main farms were cotton and coffee. The conventional planting of these crops was characterized by the inadequate use of agrochemicals which were applied between 45 and 67 times per crop when 14 to 15 applications were recommended. Cases of farmers poisoning were routine situations and the damages to the quality of life were translated into the reduction of life expectancy in the countryside and in the limitations imposed by the inadequate use of pesticides.
In olericulture the same: about 35 family farmers were engaged in conventional farming using pesticides and chemical fertilizers. In vegetables and fruits farming (mainly table viticulture) the planting areas were small – about 6 ha. The main commercial vegetable farming products were zucchini and okra, commercialized in the Ceasa of Londrina and the leafy greens, in the street markets. There was no organic vegetable farming in the mentioned municipalities. Areas with soybean cultivation also followed the conventional process The only practices and techniques that deviated from this production model were encouraged through natural agriculture by the Mokiti Okada Foundation.

   

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

To promote the development of organic vegetables production systems in Northern Paraná.

Specific objectives:

  • Identifying and implementing technology for regional organic production;

  • Increasing the production and the organic vegetables mix in the region;

  • Organizing and planning production and commercialization;

  • Improving the income and quality of life of family farmers;

  • Add value to the product.

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

Between 1999 and 2004, the organic production in Northern Paraná was concentrated in the soybean cultivation and less intensively in olericulture and fruits farming. The first measure to make organic production possible and guarantee the certification was the creation of a formal group. The Organics Association of Uraí met monthly for administrative discussions (certification/legislation) and organic management practices. These meeting took place at the farmers' properties and aimed at expanding the group integration and demonstrating in practice the hindrances collectively and individually faced by producers.

The constitution of the association and the interest of its members for the organic production practices made it possible to plan education and training actions in the area. During the following 5 years, (1) courses on agroecological management were promoted; (2) farmers participated in training courses in Natural Agriculture and Biodynamic Agriculture/Botucatu with renowned researchers Ana Maria Primavesi and HajimeTokeshi; (3) monthly visits to properties in the region that started organic farming were held; (4) three Organic Agriculture Meetings were held focusing on the themes of agroecology and associativism; (5) excursions were made to areas certified in Organic Management in the State of São Paulo (Ibiúna/São Roque) in order to allow farmers to get to know properties that were dedicated to organic production. It was an intense period of training and construction of theoretical basis.

In order to enable the commercialization of organic production in the region, as of 2004 the work with the company Rio de Una Alimentos Ltda began. The dialogues with the company were motivated by the company's interest in purchasing the production, especially in the winter, in order to supply its commercial demand for vegetables. The partnership between rural producers and the company was established through meetings with the participation of Emater. During the meetings it was planned the volume and the mix (based on the tomato production) to be delivered and the respective times. The process was followed up in fortnightly visits (8 to 12 a year) by EMATER PR with the 45 producers that participated in the commercialization process. This is an ongoing procedure.

A process of technological training for the farmers took place simultaneously to the commercialization. This process was conducted by means of agricultural good practices courses, establishment of reference units (soil management, varieties competition, special crop handling, adaptation and adequacy of inputs allowed in organic management). The application of organic techniques and practices suitable to the reality of the northern region and the frequent follow-up of the Emater's extension agents made the group a reference in organic production in the State of Paraná.

In addition to the technical training of the producers and the implementation of new management practices – making it possible to produce more and with higher quality –, the organic certification process and the food packaging valued the final product. The certification, carried out by IBD and TECPAR, allows the consumer to guarantee that the food complies with techniques and requirements of organic production. The selection of the product and its packaging adds value to the commercialized unit or kilogram.

Finally, the development of the organic vegetables production chain was enhanced through a national public policy of rural credit, the Pronaf. The easy access to line of credit and favorable payment conditions allowed the family farmers to defray the production and invest in commercial vehicles, equipments, sub artesian wells and building of protected culture environment (greenhouse). During this process Emater provided guidance and advised farmers on the identification of the equipment/technologies needed in the property and in the legal procedures to access the lines of credit.

  

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

The results achieved by the development of the organic vegetables production chain in the Northern region of Paraná can be presented in:

a) Structural and organizational results:

  • 45 producers certified in the production of organic vegetables;
  • Establishment of 24 demonstration units;
  • During 2016, four field days were held with producers and guests to demonstrate the results of the production chain and new technologies of organic production. The events were attended by 231 people from the states of Paraná, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul;
  • Rental of a shed to receive the products and their sale packaging;
  • Commercialization expansion to other municipalities of Paraná (Curitiba, Cornélio Procópio, Londrina, São Sebastião da Amoreira, among others) and to the São Paulo's Ceasa (State Supply Central);
  • Permanence of the young people in the rural properties, facilitating family succession (13 families);
  • Greater participation of women in the properties management (8 families).

b) Financial and productive results:

  • Monthly income from R$2,500.00 to R$3,500.00 in areas ranging from 1500 m² to 6 hectares;
  • Weekly average production of 6000 tomato trays (400 grams);
  • Monthly commercialization of 40 tons of organic vegetables;
  • All producers have no debts;
  • Value added to production when compared to the value paid by the market for conventional products;
  • Introduction of the carrot culture in the Latosol region;
  • Introduction of various types of vegetables (leafy greens, fruits and root vegetables) and other crops to the organic production system, such as: cucumber, yellow and green peppers, carrots, zucchini, kale, eggplant, okra, tomato, manioc, corn, etc.

c) Socio-environmental Results:

  • All properties have a established permanent preservation and granting of water.

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

Human Resources: Three (3) professionals in the technical area and one (1) person to be responsible for the group's administrative procedures (control of receipts of packaging, boxes, products and raw material).

Material resources: Financial resources for certification (producers), one (1) loading and unloading shed, one (1) refrigerated truck (purchasing company), Farmers with a producer's invoice and logistic availability.

 

6 - PRACTICE TRANSFER

There was an increase in organic production that expanded from Uraí to other municipalities in the region of Cornélio Procópio and Londrina, also with the creation of the Association of Organic Producers of Londrina (APOL).

The practice has also been the subject of local and state news stories. In 2013 the Revista Campo (Campo Magazine) produced a tv news story, broadcast in the state and nation wide (youtube/social media). These publicity actions, together with the technique and work methodology, have made the organic vegetable production of Uraí a reference in the State of Paraná.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

Among the lessons learned it can be highlighted the importance of family farmers acting through a pre-established planning with the ATER and the purchasing company. This situation demands discipline and group organization.

Another important aspect for success was the recognition of the developed activities, which allowed the work growth in the municipality and its expansion to other regions. Pioneers awareness of the process makes new members feel safe about it.

Among the hindrances faced by the producers and the technical team of Emater stand out: (1) the initial prejudice on the part of the producer against the organic activity; (2) equipment developed or adapted to organic crops; (3) the need for more registered agricultural inputs for use in organic farming; (4) control and prevention of soil diseases; (5) difficulties in the commercialization and introduction into new markets; and (6) making the price of organic food accessible to the general population.

 

8 - ORIGINALITY OF THE PRACTICE

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

 

 

 

 

The period from May to August is the most recommended one for visits – preferably on Tuesdays and Fridays – with a maximum of 35 visitors at a time.

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