Tag Archives: imaflora

Agricultural Atlas reveals territorial organization in Brazil

Agricultural Atlas reveals territorial organization in Brazil

A collaboration between Imaflora, GeoLab of ESALQ and KTH (Royal Technology Institute in Sweden) resulted in the creation of a geo-referenced database of productive land throughout Brazil. The atlas covers the entire national territory of approximately 6.7 million polygons and, for the first time, shows publicly all public lands and those that are privately owned in the country.

The database divides land uses into 20 categories including, for example, protected natural areas of the State, INCRA settlements, and CAR (Rural Environmental Cadastre) properties, which together account for 80% of the country.

For the rest of the territory a complementary modeling was made to 1) examine the portions of land registered as private, 2) consider the limits of the rural properties surveyed by IBGE in 2006, 3) consider the size of rural properties surveyed in each municipality. The coverage of this area (20% of the territory) is essential to register unknown territories, which have been not considered in previous censuses.


The available database covers the entire national territory and is the best approach available in terms of size, location and distribution of public and private land. In addition, the Atlas is available for viewing and downloading on the “Atlas da Agropecuária Brasileira” project site.

The compilation reveals some surprises, such as the scope of small farms (less than 4 fiscal modules), where family farming is represented. Compared with the 2006 agricultural census, which remains the main reference in current studies on national agriculture, 1 million more properties were found in that category. The figures obtained approximate those of the ITR, available in the CAFIR database, indicating that with real estate growth since 2006, family farming has grown in importance with respect to real estate properties.

It also reveals that large properties occupy a similar area to the sum of all small and medium properties; and gets close to the sum of all protected areas of the country, including indigenous lands and conservation areas.

The uneven distribution of land between states is also evident. In Rio Grande do Sul 2% of the territory is public protected areas, 1% is dedicated to settlements and 89% is occupied by private property; Amazonas has 52% of its protected territory, 4% dedicated to settlements, 35% of public land and 6% of private properties.

According to Luis Fernando Guedes Pinto, from Imaflora, “in addition to the studies, the website provides additional and original information on the geography of national agriculture. In the coming months will be updated with new information, for example on land use, distribution of production and productivity of crops by season, as well as environmental and social information related to rural development and conservation of natural resources ” .

Professor Gerd Sparovek of GeoLab added that “the Atlas provides information and analysis for a better understanding of Brazilian agriculture and can serve as support for the formulation of public and private policies in the sector.”

You can consult the Atlas da Agropecuária Brasileira here.

Sustainable agriculture reaches the caatinga

Sustainable agriculture reaches the caatinga

For the first time a Brazilian venture farming of melon and watermelon achieves the social and environmental certification SAN/ Rainforest Alliance. From that harvest, Itaueira with sown in three northeastern states areas, can market their products with the seal that certifies the use of best practices in the field.

Altogether there are 3,800 hectares in the states of Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceara with the caatinga biome (dry forests in northern Brazil). This is the only typical Brazilian biome, with a unique biodiversity and also very threatened.


“The venture needs to show auditors what is being done to protect water sources, soil health, ecosystems sheltering, among other obligations. It is always a part of the certification process to take one step further. Therefore, the arrival of the certification to the caatinga has a value itself, “says Edson Teramoto, IMAFLORA‘s agronomist who participated in the audits in the company.

At the end of the cycle in all three areas from planting to harvest, the enterprise needed 1,600 workers, mostly harvesters. A significant number, taking into consideration the few opportunities the population has for income.

“Commitments with good social and environmental practices provides specific improvements, and when they win scale lead to very significant results for all parties”, recalls Edson.

To Itaueira, the certification confirms to the company management that these type of procedures  are indeed the best suited for the preservation of the environment and to assure the respect for the rights of workers. Furthermore, the good management practices are going beyond what the law requires in relation to the conservation of fauna, flora, soil, water, air, selective harvesting and recycling.

According to Itaueira’s Marketing Manager, Adriana Prado, certification will help the company achieve markets that already have environmental concerns and conscious consumers who know and respect the Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal.

According to Ms. Prado, “the use of  the seal in all melon and watermelon packages,  will help spread the symbol of the certification and what it represents outside Brazil, as well as in the Brazilian market, where it is still little known”.

Is sustainability a good deal for farmers?

Is sustainability a good deal for farmers?

The latest issue of Imaflora’s “Sustentabilidade em Debate” brings together three studies that complement each other with the aim of answering the same question: can the adoption of good management practices for production, conservation of natural resources and working conditions be justified economically? In other words, is the adoption or pursuit of sustainability a good deal for farmers?

As a rule, industry leaders argue that sustainability can be achieved as long as someone foots the bill. This statement embeds the assumption that sustainability is a cost or a competitive disadvantage.

To test whether this perception is actually true, SEBRAE, Rabobank and Imaflora joined researchers from ESALQ-USP and from the University of Oxford. Based on robust methods, the three studies analyzed large databases that contain information from dozens of farmers covered by programs designed to stimulate sustainability in several regions of Brazil either through the provision of credit, technical assistance or certification.

“Sustentabilidade em Debate” presents, in advance and in a simplified and summary form, studies in final stages of postgraduate research that will later be published in detailed academic format.

The main conclusions and recommendations of the studies are the following ones:

— Farmers who adopt sustainability and management programs have improved economic performance outcomes. They are, therefore, more competitive.

— This is because these farmers achieve higher productivity, become more efficient and produce at a lower cost. The economic advantages enjoyed on the farms are independent from market benefits or special prices.


— A farmer with high socioenvironmental performance tends to have greater financial health and, therefore, would tend to be a customer with less risk and greater ability to pay for the financial sector.

A management system is critical for implementing sustainability practices and for improving productivity and the efficiency of production.

Management systems and sustainability practices can be adopted by small, medium and large farmers. Collective actions favor and increase the scale of adoption for small and medium ones.

— Credit can influence the adoption and support the implementation of good practices, management systems and sustainability practices in agriculture. A credit policy based on incentives and mechanisms for supporting changes driven by financial agents can induce a process of continuous improvements in the performance of farmers in terms of sustainability. The adoption of such a mechanism tends to be beneficial for farmers and banks.

Market instruments such as certification contribute to the implementation of management systems and sustainability practices. They can be implemented collectively, thus reducing costs for farmers.


There is a gap in terms of public policies designed to support the adoption of better management systems by farmers. Weak technical assistance and rural extension programs constitute a major barrier to sustainability.

— The experiences of Rabobank and of the Educampo program (SEBRAE) show the potential of credit and technical assistance to promote and support the implementation of sustainability practices on farms. However, the main public policies for agricultural production do not encourage or support the implementation of management systems and sustainability practices as a core component. Little by little, sustainability parameters are being incorporated into some policies, but still in a marginal way. The metrics of production and productivity that usually measure the sector’s success make all the challenges and complexities involved in promoting sustainable production invisible.

— Weak public technical assistance and rural extension (ATER) programs go hand in hand with the increasing role of the private sector as a source of innovation and technology transfer, which is not necessarily intended to improve management systems, sustainability practices and the efficiency of farmers.

You can read “Sustentabilidade em Debate” in our library.

SAN’s Director will share his expertise on the General Assembly of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020

SAN’s Director will share his expertise on the General Assembly of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020

Over 80 partners of The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) from government, business, civil society, international organizations and local communities will come together to finalise the 2016-18 strategy of TFA 2020, and exchange knowledge, expertise, and best practices on partnering to implement the transition to deforestation-free supply chains.

The TFA 2020 is a global public-private partnership in which partners take voluntary actions, individually and in combination, to reduce the tropical deforestation associated with the sourcing of commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef, and paper and pulp.

Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 Deforestation Climate Change

During the Knowledge Exchange Sessions, the Executive Director of SAN, Andre de Freitas, alongside Richard Donovan (from SAN member Rainforest Alliance) and Mauricio Voivodic (from SAN member in Brasil, Imaflora), will present recently completed research on the impacts of certification from a deforestation and sustainability perspective, and also identify how certification systems are currently adapting to better address new challenges.

The presenters have long experience in on the-ground advisory and independent auditing in forestry and agriculture certification. They have also been involved in corporate and government efforts to halt deforestation.

“TFA 2020 is the leading global public-private partnership working to eliminate deforestation from key commodity supply chains. Its upcoming General Assembly will produce its strategy for the next few years and we are excited to contribute to this and share our experience and positive results on how SAN/Rainforest Alliance certification has not only been effective in tackling deforestation but also in delivering other environmental and social benefits”, said de Freitas.

The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) is partner with the TFA 2020 since last year, since then the SAN has been involved in programs and initiatives to end commodity driven tropical deforestation and has share its knowledge and expertise with other partners.

Also, on the SAN Standard it’s stated that from the date of application for certification onwards, the farm must not destroy any natural ecosystem. Additionally, from November 1, 2005 onwards no high value ecosystems must have been destroyed by or due to purposeful farm management activities.

The Knowledge Sessions will also include discussions about topics such as the importance of land and forest tenure in achieving zero deforestation and sustainable supply chain management goals.

The TFA 2020 will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia on 10-11 March.

Imaflora maps agricultural practices with low carbon emissions in 21 countries

Imaflora maps agricultural practices with low carbon emissions in 21 countries

Until December, Imaflora will map the best practices to optimize food production while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in countries receiving USAID Global Hunger and Food Security Iniatitve support , a US agency that helps nations developing programs promoting food security.

At this stage the USAID Feed the Future program will focus on 21 countries, including Nepal, Colombia, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Uganda, Zambia and Cambodia.

As the name implies, the objective of the program is fight hunger and poverty; in addition to malnutrition, which kills millions of children worldwide each year. The program reached 5.5 million families in 2011 and 18.9 million last year. Nutrition programs –aimed for children under five years- attended 8.8 million children in 2011, but in 2014 that number rose to 12.3 million, an increase of 38%


In the partnership, Imaflora mission will be to identify those countries with effective policies for animal husbandry and food security and those that have reduced the emission of greenhouse gases. These productivity gains are internationally referred to as Low Emission Development (LED).

Based on data on emissions from FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations), Imaflora’s specialists will give technical recommendations to help prevent hunger and at the same time reduce the percentage of emissions. These practices have improved maize varieties in Ethiopia, the management of coffee in Kenya and early rice crop in Bangladesh.

In October, the team visited Ethiopia, partner in the US program, to validate the information in situ. The objective was to verify if the theory echoes in the local reality of these communities.

The coordinator of the Initiative for Climate and Agriculture, Marina Piatto, said that validation is important because the work is based on theoretical data. “We will prepare a case to learn about the reality of these producers, which will allow us to make the necessary adjustments to the proposals,” added Piatto.

Preliminary results of the project with USAID and CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Program) will be presented to the American partners in February when the project ends.

Clean, renewable and free energy

Clean, renewable and free energy

As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, IMAFLORA opened its electricity supply system powered only with solar energy. Now, the organization becomes one of the few energy self-sufficient brazilian buildings.

IMAFLORA’s executive secretary, Mauricio Voivodic, presented the system to the media, members of the Board and other guests. Voivodic showed the process of capturing solar energy through photovoltaic panels for further processing into electricity.


168 solar panels were installed and they will produce 5,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month. So, IMAFLORA will stop issuing about 6 tons of gases that cause the greenhouse effect and temperature rise on Earth. This is equivalent to planting 40 trees or withdrawal of 6 vehicles per year circulating every day throughout the day.

“The important thing here is that we are talking about energy from a clean source that does not pollute and that is renewable. We’d love to share our experience to make this initiative a large scale one in the region to benefit more people, and more importantly for the future generations”said Mauricio Voivodic.

Climate change – Brazil is takes the seventh place for emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly due to deforestation and agricultural activities. IMAFLORA act on both fronts. They carried out a technical study under the Climate Observatory on emissions of Brazilian agriculture, with which they calculated the emissions of all the Brazilian states over the last 43 years for analysis and subsequent recommendations for its reduction. The document containing the findings and recommendations was presented to the Brazilian government by civil society.

Policies to halt deforestation permeate all actions in IMAFLORA: forest management certification, safeguards in the construction of government policies to reduce emissions from the forestry and forest degradation, and the validation and verification of carbon projects.

Brazil needs to modernize cattle ranching to reduce of greenhouse gas emissions

Brazil needs to modernize cattle ranching to reduce of greenhouse gas emissions

By Marina Piatto

The goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which countries worldwide will take to the Conference on Climate Change (COP21), to be held in Paris next month, are already on the table. The meeting should produce a global climate agreement that includes collaboration from all countries to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Brazil is going to the COP21 with the goal of reducing its emissions by 37% for 2025 and by 43% for 2030. The country became the first emerging economy to propose a reduction of its activities in order to keep global warming below 2o C in this century.

These goals announced by President Dilma Rousseff encompass the three main carbon-emitting sectors: land use, energy and agriculture. Regarding deforestation and power generation, the goals are less ambitious: achieving 45% renewable energy (maintaining the volume of the hydroelectric power source and including 23% renewable energy such as wind power, solar energy and biomass energy); achieving zero illegal deforestation in 15 years in the Amazon only; in addition to restoring 12 million hectares of forest, probably half of them in eucalyptus.


For the agricultural sector, the commitments made are: recovering 15 million hectares of degraded pasture and implementing 5 million hectares of ICLF (Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forestry systems). The proposals are bold, but they could be better. It is estimated that the goal for agriculture must be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28% for 2030, using 2005 as the benchmark. In June, the Climate Observatory prepared a climate plan proposal for Brazil, which estimates that a reduction of up to 40% could be achieved if best agricultural practices are widely applied.

On the other hand, Dilma Rousseff’s commitments are in the right direction, due to the large potential these best practices have shown for emissions reduction. So, at least on paper, agriculture is at the forefront of reducing emissions in Brazil.

However, taking on the commitment is only half the battle. For this objective to succeed, a clear strategy must be determined for these actions to be carried out in the field. Thus there is a need to establish how the goals for agriculture will be implemented and what the volume of resources needed for this will be.

Otherwise, the risk of reaching 2030 without achieving the proposed reductions is very high. Recovering 15 million hectares of degraded pasture and implementing another 5 million hectares of ICLF are huge challenges, especially if there is no structure and approach to achieve the desired impact. The assessment of the current situation is important as a lesson to avoid repeating mistakes that affect the achievement of the goals. For example, the ABC Plan (Low Carbon Emission Agriculture) of 2010 proposed to recover the same degraded pastures and implement 4 million hectares of ICLF, but the slow pace of the actions taken so far indicates that the targets will not be achieved in the proposed timeframe.

Financial and outreach mechanisms have also acted hesitantly. In 2015, the Safra Plan decreased the amount of credit allocated for the ABC Plan, interest rates also rose and commitments to strengthen rural extension in Brazil were not met. There is nothing to indicate the ABC Plan will be fulfilled in 2020.

Neither does agricultural credit for family farming (PRONAF, a national program to strengthen family farming) take into account the requirements for lowering emissions, widening the gap in the proposed development plan.

Technologies that allow reductions in carbon emissions already exist, but they need to reach all of Brazil: intensification, conservation tillage, animal waste management, fertilizer efficiency and biological nitrogen fixation need larger scale implementation. Toward this end, agricultural policies such as the Safra Plan and PRONAF should adopt low carbon emission criteria in their lines of credit and their subsequent disbursement must be less bureaucratic.


Rural extension should be broadened to help producers better manage their properties and achieve greater efficiency with lower emissions. Public-private partnerships can also accelerate the adoption of these technologies.

Another important aspect is the collaboration of other sectors linked to agriculture in achieving the target reductions. Integrated planning for the environment, infrastructure and education is essential to enable the adaptation of the Forest Code, storage of production, and research and technology transfer related to the rural sector.

Achieving the proposed target will require great effort. Civil society must work on this task with public and private companies so that reductions in production, conservation and emission reductions can, in a short space of time, maintain the global climate within tolerable limits.

Beef and orange juice certified under the SAN Standard gain market space in Europe

Beef and orange juice certified under the SAN Standard gain market space in Europe

Products from farms certified under the SAN Standard for Sustainable Agriculture continue to gain space in European supermarkets. This time it is beef and orange juice with the Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal that will be available to consumers in Holland, Germany, and other countries of that continent.

On October 12, during the Anuga food fair in Cologne (Germany), the Dutch chain Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat presented a new hamburger alternative for the most discerning European consumer. The “Frozen Butcher” hamburger brand now has a special line of 100% certified meat from farms that meet the standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network, which includes measures for environmental, labor, social, animal welfare and production management sustainability.


This product, from Fazendas Sao Marcelo in Brazil, can already be found in the European supermarket chains.

Luís Fernando Guedes Pinto, manager of Imaflora Agricultural Certification, the SAN partner in Brazil, said that the certification of this hacienda shows that large-scale cattle production can go hand in hand with good soil management, animal welfare, natural resource conservation and respect for workers and communities.”

In late October, the German market, through the EDEKA supermarket chain, will be able to enjoy certified orange juice that also comes from Brazilian farms.

In early October, EDEKA announced that it will completely substitute its own orange juice brand with the beverage that bears the green frog seal, which is backed by the SAN Standard.

“We offer our customers, in addition to EDEKA Bio orange juice, another that considers sustainability aspects in a special way and is certified accordingly,” said Rolf Lange, Head of EDEKA Corporate Communications, in a press release.

The EDEKA group is the large supermarket corporation in Germany, with a 26% market share.