The Agriculture and Livestock Plan, launched this month by the Brazilian federal government, is going to allocate 1 billion reais (US$ 639.3 million) for farmers who adhere to sustainability programs of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.
The aim is to devise sustainable solutions for national agriculture and propagate socially just agribusiness that respects natural resources.
The highlights among the ministry's programs are those encouraging integrated production, developing organic farming, and programs turned to crop-husbandry-fruit farming integration. Together, the programs have already benefited over 5,000 farmers and received investment of approximately 6 million reais (US$ 3.8 million) in 2008.
Regarding the programs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply has already approved, for instance, technical norms for integrated production of 18 different varieties of fruit.
There are rules for training farmers, soil handling, disease and plague control, residue analysis, harvesting techniques, transport and other aspects of the production chain. The program also includes tubers, grain, coffee and flowers.
The incentive program to organic farming will be based on agro-ecologic principles. The sector took a large leap forward in 2007, when a decree was issued regulating organic foods, thus enabling product certification.
The creation of a bank for basic seeds of leguminous plants, to be used in green fertilization, was another successful initiative. Established in 2007, the bank has already produced 16 tons of seeds.
The system for farming-husbandry-fruit farming integration offers better income alternatives to rural producers, thanks to diversification of production.
It proposes adoption of different forestry and agro-forestry production systems within a single area. It is possible to combine fibre and wood extraction with production systems for grain, meat, milk and agroenergy.
All products involved in sustainable production are certified by organizations accredited with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, and the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (Inmetro). Certification ensures product credibility in the market.