At the COP21 in Paris in early December, Pedro Taques the Mato Grosso governor, announced the state’s green growth strategy and plans to reduce 6 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2030, while increasing agricultural outputs and improving livelihoods at the same time. The three-faceted strategy – ‘produce, protect, include’ – involves government, business and civil society collaborating to achieve zero deforestation and eliminate forest degradation.
The state of Mato Grosso is Brazil’s top producer of soy, beef and cotton and as a result has seen one of the highest rates of deforestation and agriculture-led carbon emissions in the past decades. Reducing carbon emissions by 6 gigatons by 2030 (equivalent to how much USA, the world’s second biggest CO2 emitter, emits in one year), was among the most ambitious goals presented at COP21 and is a monumental step towards sustainability in agriculture.
The state-wide strategy and targets were developed together with a diverse stakeholder group including producer organizations, agribusiness, and several NGOs.
How will it work?
One important goal is to restore 6 million hectares of degraded pastures and to put them to productive use: 3 million hectares for agriculture (primarily for soy, corn and cotton production), 2,5 million hectares for (more efficient) cattle grazing and 0,5 million hectares for conservation. Currently, some 40 percent of the land in the 93-million-hectare state is made up of unproductive pastures, far more than is used for the more lucrative crop production. This efficient use of land coupled with appropriate legal framework to implement it (also part of the plan) will reduce further deforestation in the remainder of Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal.
Other goals in the strategy are, among others, placing 6 million ha of natural forest under sustainable forest management, eradicating illegal deforestation and creating favorable conditions for smallholder farmers by for example improved land regulations and providing technical assistance to family farmers.
Putting these unprecedented ambitions into practice is expected to cost about 40 billion reais or 10 billion USD and Mr Taques has made it clear that the government cannot do it alone. Funding will partially come from the state itself but the majority of financing will stem from building a public-private financial facility to attract investment from companies and international donor organizations.
IDH, together with its partners in Brazil will leverage public-private investment in land-use optimization, including cattle intensification and pasture and forest restoration, by formulating and driving business cases as well as by supporting the building of funding facility. It will then work together with partners in implementation of the resulting projects.
Read the detailed plan here.