The magazine Ethical Corporation published in its March issue a full report on the efforts of the Sustainable Production of Calves Program being developed in Mato Gross by IDH and partners, within the dynamics of changes to deforestation in the Amazon. The article highlighted how livestock is a serious cause of deforestation, outlining the complex systems that pushes forward this situation – from the low level of technology used in the field, the high cost of putting in place suitable management systems for pasture land and for restoring degraded areas to the lack of access to credit to promote these improvements, all of which has a strong impact on the bottom of the production chain: the small calf breeders.
The article underlined that one of the efforts for change in land management is the fact that the Program is aligned with the Produce, Conserve and Include (PCI) state strategy, whose goals are to promote a more sustainable chain of production through technical assistance for implementing improvements in agriculture and livestock practices, including intensifying and restoring pasture land and recuperating conservation areas, in compliance with the Forestry Code.
One of the people interviewed by the Magazine was the director of sustainability from Marfrig, Paulo Pianez, who endorsed the importance of the initiative. “It is totally possible to have sustainable livestock breeding in Brazil. We are able to improve and increase our production without getting rid of a single tree, but we have to have some technical assistance [mainly] during the first phase of production… this is the challenge that we are facing in Brazil.”
In September of last year Marfrig, together with the IDH, signed a letter of intent that will help escalate the solutions that are being tested by the calf program. At the same time, the partnership between Marfrig and IDH will propose a long-term plan for guaranteeing the commitment has taken on by the company when it issued a sustainable transition bond of 500 million dollars to invest in the purchase of cattle from the Amazonian biome in the next decade, the explicit aim of which is to help these breeders.
The global director of sustainable landscape from IDH, Daan Wensing, was also interviewed in the report. He explained that one of the ways to lower the pressure caused by deforestation resulting from opening up new areas is to reduce the area used for cattle breeding, making it more efficient. “This would free up millions of hectares for agricultural production and reduce by half the main factor causing deforestation and degradation of land in Brazil.”
The aim of the Sustainable Production of Calves Program is to change the dynamic of production and sales of the livestock chain in order to make it even more inclusive and financially solid. It is coordinated by IDH with investments from the Carrefour Group and Carrefour Foundation, and its implementing partners are the Mato Grosso Breeders’ Association (Acrimat) in the Araguaia Valley and the NatCap company in the Juruena Valley, the region in which the Fazenda São Marcelo, as a commercial supporter, is situated. 250 farms are currently members of the Program and this number is expected to reach 457 by the end of 2020. The investments for carrying out the activities are expected to be in the region of 3.5 million Euros.
Check out the Ethical Corporation Magazine’s full report here