Paraná, January 22, 2020 – Increasing the income of small rural producers dedicated to family farming. Expanding food production and sales to new markets. Reducing pesticide use. These are some of the results obtained over the last five years by Klabin’s program Social Forests – Planning Sustainable Properties. The findings come from a socioeconomic and environmental survey of 60 program participants that was concluded recently.
Since 2015, the Social Forests program has working in the cities of Telêmaco Borba, Ortigueira, Imbaú and Reserva, in the state of Paraná. The initiative, which already has served over 500 properties, promotes family farming and supports small-scale farmers in all phases of production, from complying with environmental requirements to selling products in local markets, including diversifying the property and encouraging a culture of associations/cooperatives. It also offers training programs on farm management, cattle raising, organic production, environmental education and more.
“By comparing current data with information collected at the start of the program in 2015, the survey shows how the Social Forests program has successfully achieved its objectives: enabling the region’s farmers, most of whom still live in rural areas, to perform an important economic activity and remain in the countryside. In the process, people living in urban areas gain access to higher quality food produced locally,” said Uilson Paiva, Social Responsibility and Community Relations manager at Klabin.
Over 70% of survey participants recognized an increase in their income after entering the Social Forests program. Of these, 45% noted an increase of between 20% and 60% in the revenue generated by their properties. In terms of product sales, half of respondents said that they were able to expand their network, from neighbors and local fairs to cooperatives, restaurants and large food companies. The good performance of their sales encourages them to increase their production, which was observed in 57% of properties consulted.
João Carlos dos Santos Benício, from the community of Índio Galdino in Ortigueira, is one of the farmers benefited. “Most of my income came from selling calves twice a year. Now, by selling milk, I have income every month,” he said. He also produces bananas to sell to the National School Food Program (PNAE) and earns income from selling hogs and beef cattle.
Another important front of the program involves environmental aspects. Over 80% of producers said that the Social Forests program brought benefits or changes to their property in this aspect. One of the points worth noting is the reduction in pesticide use: 66% of farmers said that they decreased their use of this resource after talking with consultants, based on the orientations to use less aggressive alternatives, diversify production and even think about tapping the organic market.
Today, the produce grown by the farmers of the Social Forests program can be found in lunches at public schools and in the food of workers at Klabin’s plants and forest, as well as sold in markets in the region. In July 2019, the program, which is a partnership with the Association for Preservation of the Environment and Life (Apremavi), the Brazilian Micro and Small Company Support Service (Sebrae ) and municipal governments, was expanded to another five cities: Sapopema, Curiúva, São Jerônimo da Serra, Tibagi and Cândido de Abreu. The expectation is for the program to assist at least another 100 properties in the region.