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mai 21, 2018

Brazil forges international partnerships to invest in conservation of biomes

Brazilian government ministries have joined forces with their counterparts in the United Kingdom in order to execute a vast project to train local producers and preserve some of Brazil’s key biomes. Organized by the Inter-American Development bank and supported by Brazil’s ministries of the Environment, and of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, as well as the United Kingdom’s Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs, the so-called Sustainable Rural project has been in place since 2015 and is now entering into its second phase after the announcement of a further GBP 30 million in investment.

The goal of the Sustainable Rural project is to encourage the use of agritech across Brazil's biomes and “promote the implementation of a large-scale project to enhance the development of the Low-Carbon Agriculture Program (ABC)”. Estimates suggest the project can reduce carbon emissions by up to 10.71 million tons over the next 20 years.

The first stage of the project involved training over 10,000 local producers in the Amazon Rainforest and Atlantic Forest biomes, helping them to improve the management of their land and thus promote sustainable rural development. Producers are taught how to implement the low-carbon technologies which are supported by the project. Over 300 Demonstration Units (UDs) have also been instated, where local producers are invited along to see the benefits of low-carbon technology themselves during special field days.

With this new investment, the project will continue its efforts in the Amazon Rainforest and Atlantic Forest, while also expanding to the Cerrado and Caatinga biomes, found in Brazil’s Midwest and Northeast regions. The Cerrado is a vast tropical savannah which accounts for approximately one fifth of Brazil's entire land area. It is a crucial region for agriculture, being home to over 70% of the country’s beef cattle production.

The Caatinga, in turn, is a large scrubland covering the interior of Brazil’s Northeast, which is often susceptible to drought due to its poor soil and short rainy season. The Caatinga covers almost 10% of Brazil's land and spans the states of Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia.

The Sustainable Rural project supports four distinct low-carbon technologies, which are taught to local producers. One such technology is Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest (ICLF) Systems, an agricultural production strategy which sees agricultural, livestock and forestry activities being implemented in one single area, be it by rotation, combination or succession.

Other technologies include the recovery of deforested area, by planting pastures and also through forestry. The project also stimulates the creation of “commercial forests,” that is, forest regions dedicated to economic activities. They reduce the pressure on native forests, and supply raw materials to a wide range of industries.