Brazil’s Água Boa (Good Water) project, developed by the Environmental Coordination at Itaipu Binacional, the largest hydroelectric power plant in Brazil, is taking five producers of organic products from the state of Paraná, in the Brazilian South, to the Biofach international organic product fair.
Taking place in Germany from Wednesday (17) to Saturday (20), the Biofach is the world’s largest organic fair. The event brings together over 2,700 exhibitors and visitors from 110 countries including the exclusive trade show for cosmetics – the Vivaness – with 180 exhibitors.
Organic agriculture is one of the programs of Água Boa, which Itaipu has been developing in partnership with the Family Farming Secretariat at the Ministry of Agrarian Development.
Management of water basins, environmental education, management of residues and special collection are some of the programs that the hydroelectric power plant has been developing with over 2,400 partners, including federal, state and municipal organizations as well as private companies.
The advisor of the Environment Coordination at Itaipu, Zoltir Chiapetti, said that apart from reducing environmental impacts in the region, the Água Boa also has as its objective the improvement of quality of life of the population living in the area surrounding the dam, “considering the well being of the population and the permanence of small farmers on their properties, stunting rural exodus”.
One of the actions is aimed at promoting a transition from conventional to organic production. “When this program began, in 2003, there were approximately 90 organic producers in the region. Today, we have 900 who are already working organically or are in the conversion process. And many associations of organic farmers are doing very well, as the demand has been rising significantly,” he said.
The project develops actions for training that reach 29 cities in the area directly in contact with the power plant.
The international market for organics represents a turnover of US$ 45 billion a year. Brazil has been getting attention exporting sugar, palm oil, cosmetics and Amazon ingredients and Amazon, besides tropical fruits and seeds.
The Organics Brasil project is a collection of 74 exporting companies that participates in major trade fairs and industry events around the world in order to strengthen the brand Brazil.
This year, the project has booths at Biofach and Vivaness. There are 13 members, the MDA (Ministry of Agrarian Development) with 15 cooperatives, and the Itaipu group. Exhibitors come from the food, beverages, textiles and cosmetics sectors.
The project ended 2009 with US$ 44.3 million in deals, the result of participation in six international exhibitions.
Says the executive coordinator of Organics Brasil, Liu Ming: “Last year, at the height of the global economic crisis, during the Biofach Nuremberg, we had deals totaling US$ 34 million. We expect to open new markets this year and be able to grow 15%.”