IDH and partners launch a program to support breeders in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso

The Sustainable Production of Calves Program was launched in August in Cáceres-MT to support 100 cattle farmers in the Pantanal in the transition from low-tech to high-performance calf-producing properties, to boost income and ensure greater sustainability in the supply chain.

Through the Program, the calf breeders will receive technical assistance for land and environmental regularization, production intensification, restoration of natural areas and support to gain access to investments and markets. More than €615,000 will be invested by IDH, Carrefour Group, in partnership with Acrimat, and Nutron/Cargill by 2023. The initiative is also supported by Agrojacarezinho, in the field of animal genetics, by the Rural Union of Cáceres and by the State University of Mato Grosso (Unemat).

Cáceres is the first municipality to be served by the Program in the biome, with small, medium, and large properties, totaling an area of 65,000 hectares, 35,000 of which are native vegetation.

IDH Brazil Executive Director & Latam Landscapes Program Director, Daniela Mariuzzo, points out that cattle-raising in the Pantanal region has been going on for centuries and is under increasing risk due to climate change. “This impacts on economic activities and pushes cattle farmers to migrate to other regions and decreases the herd. Our Program will make it possible to implement measures to mitigate these risks and to improve the activity to make it more sustainable and economically viable”.

Results in Mato Grosso

The Sustainable Production of Calves Program has been implemented in the field since 2019 in Mato Grosso: in the Juruena Valley and Araguaia Valley, in partnership Natcap and with Acrimat, respectively. The goal in these regions is to support 457 cattle farmers by the end of 2022 with investments of 3.5 million euros from IDH and Carrefour.

“We work as agents of transformation along the value chain, by encouraging breeders and suppliers to adopt the best sustainable practices in the field and strengthening the bonds of trust with society,” says Lucio Vicente, Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Carrefour Group Brazil. “Moreover, with the professionalization of the breeding activity, the initiative also furthers income generation and socio-economic inclusion for cattle farmers facing vulnerability,” he adds.

The president of the Rural Union of Cáceres, Ida Beatriz Machado de Miranda Sá, considers the Program innovative and was grateful for the trust and the opportunity to be part of it. “This program will really change the economic structures here in our municipality and, together with all these partners, we will seek other possibilities to expand the economic diversity of our region.”

Livestock in the Pantanal

The Pantanal corresponds to about 7% (60,900 km²) of the Mato Grosso territory, which is over 903,000 km² long. In 2020, the biome was affected by a high incidence of fires in rural areas, which called for even more support for the recovery process and resumption of development, with special support for local producers.

Cattle breeding is an economic activity developed for centuries in the Pantanal, but the adoption of technologies applied to production systems became outdated, thereby increasing the pressure on natural resources and posing a major challenge to the improvement of the lives of small producers.

The president of Acrimat, Oswaldo Pereira Ribeiro Junior, stressed that there will always be obligations to be fulfilled with respect to the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, for it was in this biome that cattle breeding emerged in the state, which today brings a strong contribution to the economy. “We will have to overcome the challenges ahead, and there will be many, but we will certainly have in the Pantanal the continuity of production with the necessary sustainability and compliance with the specificities of the region,” he underscored.

For Nutron/Cargill, supporting an initiative like this is part of the company’s strategy for sustainable growth in the animal nutrition business, in addition to supporting a noble cause that will generate income for cattle farmers and growth to the local economy. “Cargill, through its animal nutrition brand, Nutron, is committed to supporting initiatives like this. Our mission is linked to providing a sustainable supply chain, as well as to making this topic an integral part of our business. We want to contribute more and more to the evolution of economic, environmental and social sustainability”, said Leonardo Gondim, leader of strategic marketing and technology at Cargill animal nutrition.