Barra do Garças puts its sustainable vision of the future into practice

The municipal and state governments, the private sector and society are committed to the sustainable future of the municipality by adhering to the program Produce, Conserve, Include (PCI)

The next five years will be key for Barra do Garças, a municipality in Mato Grosso located 521 km east of Cuiabá. As of today, the City Hall, the Produce, Conserve and Include Institute (PCI), JBS, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), among other organizations, are committed to cooperate to put a local development plan into practice, which boosts the regional economy with social, cultural and environmental sustainability.

This is the focus of the PCI Memorandum of Understanding signed by partners today (25) afternoon. “Our goal is to become a reference in sustainable development. With PCI, we will certainly reach our objectives in the short term”, stressed mayor Roberto Farias. A hub in the Araguaia Valley, Barra do Garças has an economic diversity that goes beyond agribusiness, which includes services and products linked to tourism, thanks to the natural and cultural beauties of the city”, the mayor points out.

Launched during the Paris Climate Conference in late 2015, the PCI Strategy consists of a long-term vision to promote economic and social development through efficient land use. In 2019, PCI entered a new phase with the creation of the PCI Institute by state decree, maintaining the goal of articulating public and private actions and raising funds to promote programs and projects related to the implementation of the Strategy. Its main instrument is strategic planning, such as that of Barra do Garças, with goals and deadlines to be met.

“For the PCI to happen in Mato Grosso, the involvement and engagement of the municipalities, the people and organizations that actually make our production, conservation and inclusion goals happen is crucial. Today, Barra do Garças sets an example of how a region can also think about the future of its rural territory. Our role, through the PCI Institute, is to bring support and partnerships to make this vision come true”, points out the executive director of the PCI Institute, Fernando Sampaio.

Among the targets already defined in the memorandum are the recovery of 100,000 hectares of low productivity pasture by the year 2030 and the incentive to integrate the crop/livestock system, for example. Increased productivity in grain crops and the promotion of biomass production for renewable energy are other items in the pillar of actions related to economic production.

As for conservation, the memorandum emphasizes the elimination of illegal deforestation by 2020, the universalization of the rural environmental registration system (SIMCAR) in the next two years and the recovery of all municipal sources by 2025, among other goals. The document gathers in the “Include” pillar the initiatives which are closely related to family agriculture, such as aquaculture, artisanal fishing, honey production, fruit growing and milk production. Taking advantage of the natural scenic wealth of Barra do Garças, the PCI plan also includes goals aimed at the tourist activity.

The memorandum is the result of a mobilization action including several sectors of the Barra do Garças society and reflects the vision of future, which is predominant among the local actors. IDH Brazil was responsible for this interinstitutional articulation with the support of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), which was in charge of the local mobilization and providing technical support in setting the goals.

“IDH focuses on supporting the construction of the strategic vision of land use through consensus. A municipality with governance and transparency regarding the use of natural resources delivers results for the PCI vision and attracts investors,” says Daniela Mariuzzo, executive director of IDH Brazil – a Dutch development organization specializing in sustainable initiatives operating in more than 40 countries worldwide.  

“We are a local technical group that defines goals that would meet the local need and action strategies involving all the links of the productive chains, with a focus on strengthening a more sustainable production. The group has studied the state PCI program and integrated social actors in a shared management process, with information discussion and data collection,” explains Raimunda de Mello, a conservation expert at TNC Brazil.

JBS, one of the largest food companies in the world and a major player in the region, supports the program and believes that the initiative encourages sustainable production in the industry. “We are very happy to be part of this program, and we consider the promotion of sustainable production as extremely important. We believe that the sector earns a lot from actions like this”, reports Márcio Nappo, sustainability director at JBS.

The memorandum signed today is a second step towards the sustainable development of Barra do Garças. In April, the city hall, the House of Representatives, TNC and IDH signed the letter of intent, which was also supported by companies, farmers’ associations, banks, entities and the public authorities. Check here the list with all the signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding.