IDH and partners make progress in implementing the Sustainable Calf Production Program in Mato Grosso

A year ago, in February 2019, a pioneering and innovative initiative started to be developed in Mato Grosso: The Calf Sustainable Production Program, aimed at changing the production and marketing dynamics of the livestock chain to make it more increasingly inclusive and financially sound.

The program is funded by the Carrefour Foundation (supported by the Carrefour Group) and by IDH, which coordinates actions with partners in the field, with the Associação dos Criadores de Mato Grosso [Mato Grosso Breeders Association] (Acrimat) being responsible for the implementation in the Araguaia Valley, and company NatCap for the implementation in the Juruena Valley, a region where the São Marcelo farm also acts as a strategic commercial partner.

Currently, 250 farms in the two regions of Mato Grosso are already receiving productive, economic, environmental, and land-based technical assistance, which is expected to reach 457 in 2021, with planned investments of EUR 3.5 million.

In order to strengthen the commitments and goals established, given the implementation reality found in the field, IDH and its partners met in March 2020 in Cuiabá, an opportunity in which they shared experiences to build this year’s work plan for the two benefited regions.

“It is important for us to be near IDH, as this gives us the necessary security to know we are on the right track. And, this also generates a positive outcome in the field, in the credibility of what we are proposing to do”, Amado de Oliveira, from Acrimat, points out.

Leone Furlanetto, from São Marcelo Farm, also had a similar view. “We have learned a lot from practice over the last year and, from now on, we can go further, with new activities to achieve the proposed objectives”, he said.

In addition to directly benefiting farmers and the beef chain in Mato Grosso, the Program also delivers results to the state government’s strategy Produce, Conserve and Include (PCI), aimed at increasing the efficiency of agricultural and forestry production, reconciling conservation, offsetting environmental liabilities and enabling the socioeconomic inclusion of small-scale farmers, with targets established by 2030. In broader terms, the Program can also contribute to the Brazilian goals, declared by the UN under the Paris Agreement, on issues related to the restoration of degraded pastures, to reducing the pressure for deforestation and to the encouragement for low-carbon agriculture.

For Mathias Almeida, from NatCap, the alignment meeting was very important for the program implementation process. “On this occasion, we had the opportunity to discuss mistakes and successes in the first year of work, by establishing the actions needed for the progress of the Program and discussing operational and strategic issues in order to seek greater impact in the field in this second year of implementation”.

He also points out that the Program is part of the regionalization of the PCI strategy, under the Juruena Valley PCI Compact, “acting in the link of the chain that has great potential for improvement and should be the basis for the development of a more sustainable production chain”.

Following the meetings in Cuiabá, the Public Policy Implementation Officer for IDH, Alex Schmidt, accompanied Acrimat in field actions in the Araguaia Valley region. “It is important to know the local reality so as to understand what the main bottlenecks and farmer demands are in these municipalities. Listening to them is crucial for the development of the actions foreseen in the Program, among which, the support to environmental and land regularization issues”, he added.

The Program’s field activities are temporarily suspended, in compliance with the safety protocol recommended for the control of Covid-19. During this period, remote (online) support to farmers, activities of internal organization, and information sharing with the partners involved continue to take place.