On 24 April 2019, Sorriso, a municipality in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso and the world’s largest grain producer, made crucial first steps towards sustainable agricultural production by formally agreeing to adhere to the state Produce, Conserve, Include (PCI) strategy.
Local producers, state government officials and civil society representatives signed a joint memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement the strategy locally through inclusive and profitable low-carbon agricultural and livestock production. The signing followed 12 months of engagement with local stakeholders, led by IDH in partnership with Clube Amigos da Terra, CAT Sorriso and Natcap Soluções Sustentáveis.
Launched during the Paris Climate Conference at the end of 2015, the PCI strategy aims to promote economic and social development in Mato Grosso through efficient land use.
In 2019, PCI entered a new phase with the creation of the PCI Institute, established by a state decree to articulate public and private actions and to attract resources to promote programs and projects related to the implementation of the strategy.
Engaging local players is critical for the PCI to be a success. The strategy is based on the needs of and opportunities for each region where partnerships for sustainable development will be constructed, with goals aligned to local social, cultural and economic expectations. In Sorriso, the opportunities lie in the production of corn ethanol, solar energy and fish farming, among others, as well as professional qualification, restoring permanent conservation areas and land regularization.
Otaviano Pivetta, Vice Governor of Mato Grosso, said:
“A very important step has been taken in advancing the PCI State Strategy. Companies and family agricultural producers from Sorriso support the long-term vision for sustainable development, which is an important tool for social inclusion.”
Daniela Mariuzzo, Executive Director of IDH in Brazil, said:
“Sorriso is already a consolidated model of high-performance agricultural production and it is acknowledged worldwide for volumes originating from grain and animal protein. We aim to support and provide the necessary tools for the different economic and social sectors in Sorriso can benefit from the long-term vision set by the PCI agenda, regarding land use and socio-economic inclusion.”
The next steps will be to elaborate the investment portfolio based on goals agreed by supporters, attracting financial resources for the recovery plan for permanent preservation areas (APPS) and providing support to smallholder farmers. Once the implementation of the program starts, social, environmental and economic indicators and the development of goals agreed by the company will be made public.
Fernando Sampaio, director of the PCI Institute said:
“Such transparency is one of PCI’s highlights, and is recognized by the main global agencies of public funding.”
Anadir Paiva, President of CAT Sorriso, an NGO that brings together rural producers and strives fortechnological development in harmony with the environment, said:
“We have a recent track record of success. In partnership with IDH and other organizations, we have certified around 75,000 hectares of soybean with the Round Table Responsible Soy (RTRS) certification, changing the lives of several farmers. Our aim is to continue on the sustainable production path.”
Combining business growth and optimizing natural resources is part of the agenda of Nutribras Alimentos, a swine business based in Sorriso and one of the signatories of the MoU.
Jonas Steffanello, Nutribras’s technical-commercial coordinator, said:
“Sustainability is in Nutribras’s DNA. We can’t think about an expansion plan without having sustainability as the basis. We are in a place where producing food and optimizing natural resources is very easy when compared to other regions, and this needs to be considered.”
The following institutions participated in the First Round of Support: CAT Sorriso, União Nacional do Etanol de Milho (UNEM), Sindicato de Agricultura Familiar, Associação dos Produtores de Orgânicos de Sorriso (APOS), Cooperativa dos Pequenos Produtores Rurais do Vale do Celeste (Coopercel), Projeto de Assentamento Casulo, Earth Innovation Institute, Instituto PCI (PCI Institute) and Programa Municípios Sustentáveis.
The following companies were also present: Carrefour, Cofco, Nutribras and Delicious Fish.
Meanwhile, the municipality Barra do Garças in Mato Grosso also took an important step toward inclusive and sustainable production. IDH, The Municipal Council, Municipal Chamber, the PCI and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) signed a letter of intent outlining a common vision on sustainable development in sectors including agriculture-livestock-forest integration, renewable energy production and tourism.
The letter will be followed by an MoU for a Municipal Development Plan of Barra do Garças, presenting guidelines for economic production, environmental conservation and social inclusion in line with the PCI strategy. Daniela Mariuzzo said:
“Our role is to promote the collaboration of stakeholders – companies, government and civil society organizations – to attain a more efficient and sustainable future, while respecting the peculiarities of the region. With the positive experiences of Juruena Valley and Sorriso, we are taking forward this approach in Barra do Garças.”
Roberto Farias, Mayor of Barra do Garças, added:
“Our agenda also includes land regularization and compiling a payment program for environmental services.”
The letter was signed on 26 April at the Municipal Chamber in Barra do Garças. It was supported by companies, farmers’ associations, banks, entities and public bodies. See here the complete list of signatories.