The partnership between Emater-MG, Ibio and the Renova Foundation is leading to technological solutions to stimulate sustainable production in affected rural communities
The sight of the farm of Rafael Arcanjo’s family, a milk producer in the community of Gesteira, in Barra Longa (MG), could be one of destroyed lands, with degraded pastures. But this not the case. The site, affected by the dam collapse, has become a scenario of opportunity and hope for farmers who also had properties affected by mud along the Doce River.
In partnership with the Technical Support and Rural Extension Company of the State of Minas Gerais (Emater-MG)and the BioAtlantic Institute (Ibio), the Renova Foundation has started to test, experimentally, technological solutions to stimulate sustainable production in rural communities affected. On August 31, during the 1st “Terra Nossa” training, which aims to offer alternatives for the recovery of the 279 affected properties, rural producers had the opportunity to learn about some of these technologies and to see, in practice, the results Rafael Archangel achieved by applying these. The idea is that rural families integrate production with environmental conservation, generating social and economic benefits.
Among the solutions are the rational management of pastures with improved quality of food for raising cattle; the use and conservation of the soil with the construction of retention basins in the areas of pastures (to capture rainwater) and the installation of septic tanks for the treatment of domestic sewage.
The goal is to improve the productive capacity of the soil, enabling the increase of income, if desired by the families, as explained by the leader of Agroforestry Operations of the Renova Foundation, Thomas Lopes Ferreira. “We know that the region has a significant presence of small properties and it is Renova’s interest to promote dialogue on these technologies of rational management of pasture, rural sanitation, land use and conservation. The first results are positive, but we need to understand how these technologies will work on each property”, he said.
On the property of Rafael Arcanjo, it is possible to observe the first achieved results, the recovery of milk production. Before the dam collapsed, he collected 127 liters of milk a day. Due to the impact of the mud on the property, this volume fell by half. Now, with the implementation of the project, production has returned to around 120 liters/day. The result was obtained through the guaranteed availability of green and sustainable pasture to feed the cattle.
“At the beginning, when these techniques were presented, I admit that I was quite surprised. However, talking to my family we understood that we could not keep doing things the way we were. Something had to be done. So, we decided to test it. It is still in experimental stage, there are some points to be corrected and others to be adjusted, but I am really happy about the results”, says the producer.
The proposals came after a study by Renova on the way of life of each producer and what resources they used on their lands in the region. This plan envisages making properties sustainable and was developed in partnership with Emater-MG. “We are confident that this experience will work. It is a project that strengthens the bond with producers, especially with the exchange of experience between them”, explains Jucélia Leite, spokeswoman of Emater in Barra Longa.
The next step is to follow the discussions with producers at monthly training meetings. The recovery plan for each property will be drawn individually, according to the characteristics of each.
“We are starting the dialogue with affected communities understanding that there is a set of sustainable technologies that are low cost and that can be effective in the recovery of lands, especially those dedicated to family agriculture. It is the beginning of a training process that should occur by listening to the families in combination with the technical-scientific content of the partner institutions. Renova is responsible for the restoration of the properties, but we believe that if we build together with society we will be more successful”, Thomas explains.