Sustainable production in order to grow
Help small and medium-sized farmers to produce soy in the Cerrado, following international sustainability parameters, with special attention to: environmental preservation, recovery of priority areas, implementation of good agricultural practices, fair working conditions, and respect for the community. What seemed like a dream has come true for 24 families in the Estrada de Ferro rural area, in the state of Goiás, benefited by Cresol Goiás’ sustainable soy production program.
Our story begins in 2016, when the Cresol Goiás team noticed a pattern of behavior among the members of that region: whenever the price of soy fluctuated, the income of the member families fell. After all, they did not have a diversified production and therefore survived almost exclusively on the sale of this commodity.
In addition, despite the presence of commercial financial institutions in the region, rural credit was not accessible to a significant part of these families. The bureaucracy and the distancing of these entities from the local context hindered the process.
It was then that Cresol Goiás decided to take on the task of helping producers to implement a program that would promote the sustainable production of soy, with the aim of guaranteeing the sale of the product, improving the lives of families in the region.
With the advance of monoculture and extensive agriculture in Goiás, one of the biggest challenges for small and medium-sized producers in the state was to balance agricultural production, technological inclusion, and conservation of natural resources on their properties.
Willing to change this reality, Cresol selected 24 cooperative families to benefit from the certification program of the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), which is based in Zurich, Switzerland. The non-profit organization’s mission is to promote the growth of the production, trade, and use of sustainable soy.
In practice, the soy producer that receives the RTRS certification demonstrates that his product was produced within international sustainability standards, complying with 98 indicators related to the different stages of production, from planting to bean distribution. With this, it automatically becomes more competitive on the global market.
In 2017, the group of families supported by Cresol Goiás reached 67% of the RTRS standard criteria. The following year, this percentage rose to 83%, and in 2019, it reached 100% of the certification criteria.
Together, the farmers who benefited from the project produced 29.1 thousand tons of 100% certified soy in the RTRS standards, that is, in accordance with sustainability standards for the Cerrado biome.
In addition, through certification, these families had an important increase in their annual income: about R$13,400, and received R$889,000 in awards for achieving the RTRS requirements.
And as the cooperatives always think about the development of the community where they operate, throughout the three years of the project, 1,417 families have received some kind of training or capacity building on the subjects of financial education, cooperatives and associations, and the inclusion of young people in the family business. Cresol has also invested in partnerships with social organizations and international cooperation NGOs to strengthen local work in education and technical assistance.