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Cooperatives and agroecology hand in hand: discover the work of Grande Sertão

Cooperatives and agroecology hand in hand: discover the work of Grande Sertão

by Luana Luizy, Communication Officer, International Education Institute of Brazil

 

Combined with environmental conservation, the Grande Sertão cooperative, in Montes Claros, also north of MG, was founded in 2003, and works with food from family farming.

The standout product is the buriti oil, used by the cosmetic and food industries.

The tasty sour coconut beer. Photo: Grande Sertão Collection

Currently, Grande Sertão has 230 members, covers 30 municipalities and indirectly involves 2 thousand families and 350 rural communities. “We are looking for new commercialization channels to strengthen us even more, and everything is done  within the principles of sustainable management ”, points out Fábio Soares, leader of the cooperative.

Altogether, more than 25 species are processed, such as araticum, cagaita, murici, cajá, jatobá, pequi, among others. Honey, rapadura and cachaça are also part of the list of products sold by Grande Sertão, which also produces and sells a tasty delicacy made from sour coconut: craft beer which is already famous throughout Brazil.

Partnership with CEPF Cerrado and IEB

With the support of Partnership Fund for Critical Ecosystems (CEPF Cerrado) and International Institute of Education of Brazil (IEB), through the project & #8220; Buriti & #8211; income generation for young people and women, conservation of Veredas and Chapadas & #8221;, a buriti production chain for the Grande Sertão it came out strengthened. The project favored the extraction and commercialization of oil from the fruit, contributing to the conservation of the Veredas, a type of ecosystem in the Cerrado where the palm tree is born and an important birthplace of springs. “Based on the initiative, we gave strength to trade to be structured; it was also an instrument to maintain these conserved areas ”, says Aryanne Amaral, project assistant for CEPF Cerrado's implementation strategy.

Buriti shavings. Photo: Grande Sertão Cooperative Collection

The commercialization of oil was successful, and today, Grande Sertão has reached the international market with the product and has renowned clients, such as the Brazilian giant Natura. Women and youth were involved in this process and benefited, being important players in the conservation of the Cerrado.

In the buriti production chain, women are ahead: they collect, extract oil, pulp, dry and pack. With this project, women started to have financial autonomy ”, says Fábio Soares.

Covid-19

Family farmer. Photo: Grande Sertão Cooperative Collection

The pandemic, of course, also brought impacts on the daily lives of associates Grande Sertão, which saw sales plummet. If it is not possible to sell family farming products at collective fairs, cooperative members needed to rethink the survival mechanisms in the market.

“We have more than 30 tons of fruit pulp stocked, with an expiration date to expire. We are looking for new strategies, such as turning these pulps into jellies, or developing a ready-made juice line. But we have a challenge, since we don't use preservatives; the product is natural ”, ponders Soares.

About Grande Sertão

The Grande Sertão Cooperative develops actions around the sustainability and agroecology, with the objective of promoting the strengthening of agroextractive communities. Associations and cooperatives, good production practices with Cerrado fruits, promote the management and conservation of rural territories where sustainable agroextractivism is practiced.

 

For more information about the Grande Sertão, visit: https://www.facebook.com/cooperativagrandesertao/


The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.

 

Grande Sertão Cooperative publishes reference term to hire specialized technical service

THE Grande Sertão Cooperative has been developing actions around sustainability and agroecology, discussing new concepts, presenting solutions and developing strategies for collaborative action in order to promote the strengthening of agroextractive communities. Among the actions developed there is a continuous process of transferring and building knowledge with training practices in associativism and cooperativism, good production practices and development of food products with fruits of the Cerrado, in addition to seeking to strengthen the management and conservation of rural territories where sustainable agroextractivism.

Thus, productive chains of Cerrado fruits have been organized, built and strengthened, as an example: the buriti (Mauritania flexuosa) that occurs in paths with plenty of water, it has been used in a sustainable way for the production of pulps and oil extraction; The pequi (Caryocar brasiliense) used for the production of flour, pulp and oil; The coquinho-sour (Butia captata) used for the production of frozen pulp, beers and sweets; The baru (Dipteryx alata), which in addition to consumption in natura, is being tested for the production of oils and other potential products, which are under development. The Cooperative continues to seek ways to expand its work to new communities and municipalities in the north of Minas Gerais, with a focus on strengthening local economies and promoting the conservation of ecosystems.

In this sense, the Grande Sertão Cooperative makes public the term of reference for hiring a specialized technical service to support technical assistance, aiming at the standardization and continuous improvement of the nutritional and sanitary quality of the products of the Cerrado that are collected, processed and commercialized by the Cooperative. The objective is to enhance the sustainable use of native Cerrado fruits and strengthen the economies of agroextractive communities, aiming at the best practices of management and conservation of the hot spot Cerrado and the corridor Grande Sertão Veredas-Peruaçu within the project “Grande Sertão - Extraction, Conservation and Income”.

Professionals interested in performing the services presented will have until the day July 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm, to send via e-mail your proposals, together with the requested documentation as described in Reference term.

For more information, contact:

José Fábio Soares

telephone: (38) 3223-2285

email: cooperativagrandesertao@gmail.com

 

Access the Terms of Reference:


The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.

 

 

Project Focus: Buriti - Income Generation for Youth and Women, Conservation of Veredas and Chapadas

Vereda is a type of Cerrado vegetation that is surrounded by typical fields, usually humid, with the presence of palm buriti (Mauritania flexuosa). This type of ecosystem ensures humidity even in dry periods, making it a refuge for fauna and flora.

The project Buriti & #8211; income generation for young people and women, conservation of Veredas and Chapadaswhich is run by Family Farmers and Agro-Extractives Cooperative Grande Sertão Ltda., and has the support of Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fundand Brazilian International Institute of Education (IEB) It works in the conservation of the Veredas, through the generation of work and income with the traditional peoples and communities of northern Minas Gerais, especially young people and women, who often take the lead in work involving agroextractivism and the processing of products.

Know the history of Zenita farmer and farmer, which owns a property in Brasilia de Minas, northern Minas Gerais. From the age of 10 Zenita has been in contact with the Veredas, buriti and Cerrado, and today, with the knowledge he inherited from his parents, makes the collection of buriti fruits for income generation. The Cooperative Grande Sertão makes use of buriti and other fruits of the Cerrado, which are collected by farmers like Zenita. The cooperative does the logistics process and develops by-products such as oil and flour, among others.

Access the video to know the history of Zenita and the work of Grande Sertão Cooperative in the Cerrado of northern Minas Gerais!

 


The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.