Young people and women from the countryside were key to the success of this first stage
Translated by Felipe Sá
With more than 20,000 seedlings planted in Crop, Livestock and Forest Integration Systems (ILPF, the acronym in Portuguese), the Campo Sustentável (Sustainable Field, in English) project has emerged as one of the main initiatives to support the agricultural sector in the state of Tocantins. Giving protagonism to the women of the field, the project seeks to spread ILPF as a strategy for recovery of degraded pastures and diversification and increase of income for the producing families.
So far, besides implementing over 70 hectares of integrated production systems in degraded pasture areas, the project has developed specific business models presenting the economic viability of the implemented systems and an online platform to present the activities being carried out. In partnership with Idesam, all this work is coordinated by the Secretariat of Environment and Water Resources of Tocantins (Semarh).
According to Thaiana Brunes, from Semarh, the species planted by the project were chosen taking into consideration not only the soil and climate conditions, but also the market and the producer’s interest. Species such as ipê and baru, for example, have great appeal in the local market, which can increase the income for these producers.
“We have been awarded assistance by the project and we are excited to be able to recover 25 hectares of our land through it. I hope everything goes well, we have already managed to plant all the seedlings and I believe that we can only gain from this project”, says Neiçon Gomes, one of the producers who received the project’s actions on his property, in the municipality of Almas (Tocantins), where the local market is focused on the fruit and wood trade.
A study on the subject launched in 2019 by Embrapa points out that the system can bring several benefits to the producer and the environment, such as improved physical, chemical and biological soil conditions, increased cycling and efficiency in the use of nutrients, reduced production costs for agricultural and livestock activities and diversification in the income of the rural property.
Because its implementation does not depend on the size of the property (provided it is well planned and follows technical guidelines), the ILPF system has also been disseminated to a younger audience by the project. This is possible thanks to the technical support for the structuring of native seedling nurseries in 5 Agricultural Schools in the interior of the state of Tocantins.
Work in Agricultural Schools
In addition to the benefits to the environment from the recuperation of degraded areas, these economic results of the ILPF systems are what guide the teaching of these techniques to young people in schools. Jéssica Milhomem, an agricultural engineer who also coordinates the technical course at a family agricultural school in the municipality of Colinas do Tocantins, explains that many students come from small farms, usually children of rural producers and often do not have a large area to work.
“As we are working to integrate farming, livestock and forest in a small space, it is of great importance for them to leave here with this knowledge, that a lot can be done in a small area”, adds Milhomem.
In the municipality of São Salvador (Tocantins), the Project enabled the construction of a nursery with a production capacity of 2500 seedlings. The production of native seedlings will contribute to the expansion of the AgroForestry System already developed by the school, as well as the implementation of an ILPF system.
In one of the schools backed by Campo Sustentável, in the municipality of Esperantina (Tocantins), the project was able to help complete the construction of a nursery that had already been partially built by the students of the Família Agrícola Bico do Papagaio School. “The project really helped us to have a greater learning of how to implement a nursery in our houses to facilitate the production of seedlings and to value even more the work of women”, says Anabele Cristina, student of the agricultural school.
Responsible also for the training of the young people from the schools that received the nurseries, the civil and environmental engineer, Olívia Marques, from Seed Solution, brought all her experience in sustainable projects to this branch of the initiative. “It is very gratifying to see the excitement of the students with all the work being done, both in the construction of the nursery and in the production of seedlings, in the processing of species such as jatobá and copaíba and how they can use this for their professional and personal future from now on”, highlights Marques.
About the Campo Sustentável (Sustainable Field) project
Coordinated by Semarh in partnership with Idesam, the Campo Sustentável (Sustainable Field) project aims to demonstrate to rural producers the economic results of the implementation of Crop, Livestock and Forest Integration Systems (ILPF) with distinct productive models.
In addition, the project aims to restore and increase productivity in areas that have been degraded by diversifying income in order to reduce deforestation caused by livestock. In early 2019, 500 tons of fodder sorghum for silage were harvested from an area of 25 hectares. At the beginning of this year, 1,500 tons of fodder sorghum and corn for silage were harvested in two areas that total 47.5 hectares, a production higher than expected due to the management adopted.
Up to now, the project has organized technical training in ILPF systems in partnership with Embrapa, works on the systematization of the first base of experiences in ILPF in the state of Tocantins and has made available an online platform for monitoring results that can be accessed at <https://camposustentavel.com.br/>.