Study presents organic production recommendations for family farmers in Sao Paulo
Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Center for Sustainability Studies (FGVCes) has just released an unprecedented report setting out recommendations to help family farmers convert to organic food production. The study, called “Promoting Family Farmers’ Conversion to Organic Food Production – Recommendations for the Food Chain,” was produced in collaboration with more than 70 representatives of various organizations and stakeholders on the organic agriculture agenda. The project is supported by the Carrefour group’s Brazilian arm and the Carrefour Foundation.
Family farmers produce most of the fresh and healthy food Brazilians consume, ensuring the country’s food and nutrition security. They also have valuable knowledge and practices related to the conservation of biodiversity and the ecosystem services on which we all depend. However, there are a number of challenges faced by family farmers when it comes to their transition to organic production, getting their products onto markets and promoting broad access to this type of food.
These challenges stem from gaps in public policies and market dynamics that lead to the underappreciation of family farming and the concentration of power in the value chain. To overcome them, therefore, the various actors linked to the agriculture and food agenda need to take joint action. In this context, FGVces conceived the “Convert” project, which seeks to help family farmers go organic and make the organic food chain more inclusive for these producers.
“This work, which involves many stakeholders, is essential to create the necessary conditions for family farmers to adopt ecologically friendly agricultural practices and sell organic food at prices that are fair to both producers and consumers. Through this set of recommendations, we want to encourage governments, companies and other actors to work on making our food systems fairer and more resilient,” said Taís Brandão, the project’s manager.
The project is divided into two broad areas. The first part, called “Coordination,” consisted of working with specialists to carry out research and come up with recommendations to change the food chain in order to make it easier for family farmers to go organic. The second part, called “In the Field,” involves holding workshops throughout 2022 with 10 groups of family farmers in the city of Sao Paulo and neighboring municipalities, to help them convert, obtain organic certifications and access high-quality markets. After this training process is over, commercial meetings will be held to bring together family farmers and buyers.
The recommendations are focused on three key themes:
1. Technical assistance and rural extension work to support conversion;
2. Markets suitable for the shift to organic family farming;
3. Strengthening policies to promote organic food chains.
Each theme has a set of general and specific objectives, together with a variety of proposed broad measures, including the following:
- Create logistics solutions, in partnership with other players in the chain, seeking to maximize the flow of products and minimize costs for farmers;
- Create lines of credit to support the conversion or organic certification of suppliers;
- Adopt measures in stores to inform customers of the origin and features of food products, including their seasonal availability, as well as each producer’s profile.
- Establish stricter rules so that the risks and negative impacts of pesticides are clearly communicated on packaging;
- Carry out economic impact assessments that show the potential of technical assistance and rural extension work in the area of ecologically friendly farming as a way to boost Brazil’s development and wealth creation.
For governments and education institutions:
- Strengthen technical assistance and rural extension work in the area of ecologically friendly farming within undergraduate courses, inspired by initiatives such as the More Organic Paraná Program in the state of Paraná.
For eight years, FGVces has been working on the agenda of agriculture and food, to promote the structuring and strengthening of value chains that recognize and value family farming, given its importance to food and nutrition security, as well as environmental conservation.
To find out more about the project, click here.