A group of 170 agribusiness entities, environmental and climate NGOs came together to launch a document with 28 proposals for the main presidential candidates in the 2018 elections. Among the suggestions are incentives to increase food production in the country in a sustainable manner, modernize agricultural practices and strengthen environmental preservation, especially the recovery of degraded areas.
The document, released on Friday, Aug 3th, by the Coalition Brazil Climate, Forests and Agriculture, obtained exclusively by the State, should be presented to the presidential candidates between August and September.
The debate comes at a time when Brazil accounts for 7% of the world’s food exports, has the largest biodiversity on the planet and has almost a quarter of its GDP in agribusiness. In addition, projections by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicate that the world will have 9 billion people by 2050 and Brazil will be one of the main responsible for increasing food production.
“Brazil has a large space to increase productivity with science and technology and contribute to the mitigation of climate change in the planet without having to focus on food production.It is necessary to incorporate these proposals into the political platform,” says climatologist Carlos Nobre, chairman of the board of the Brazilian Panel of Climate Change and one of the members of the Coalition.
Among the 28 proposals, there are some that impact the Brazilian energy matrix and the attraction of national and international investments, suggestions to improve financing for sustainable production and incentives to exploit the genetic and biochemical resources of native forests. Nobre points out that Brazil needs to exploit, with modern technologies already available, the potential of Amazonian biodiversity, which accounts for 40% of the national area.
Group brings together divergent sectors
One of the representatives of the Coalition, the agronomist André Guimarães, says that the interdependence between climate change and agricultural production is becoming clearer and that the group decided to bring together sectors that sometimes have differences.
In this context, forests play a key role in addressing climate change because they store and capture carbon from the atmosphere. “The forest takes care of the water, which in turn irrigates agriculture, the producer and the most modern entrepreneurs have noticed this, so we decided to sit down and find a consensus,” says Guimarães.
One of the proposals of the Coalition is to recover the forest cover in areas of recharge of the watershed aquifers considered strategic, which would benefit the countryside and the city. Another point highlighted by the group is the need to encourage the development of low carbon agriculture and forest recovery in degraded areas and low agricultural ability – Brazil committed to reforest 12 million hectares of forests by 2030 in the Paris Agreement signed by 195 countries by 2015.
Under the agreement, the country also decided that it will use 45% of renewable energy in the composition of its energy matrix. The goal of the signatories is to try to contain global warming to less than 2 ° C by 2100.
Guimarães points out that the country is currently experiencing a scenario of electoral uncertainty and it is necessary that society actively participates in the decisions of the course of Brazil. “The country has many potential land use and natural resources, so we decided to make concrete proposals and be proactive,” he says.
For Marcelo Vieira, president of the Brazilian Rural Society (SRB) and member of the Coalition, it is necessary to achieve what was signed in Paris. He also advocates regularizing the market for environmental services to give farmers more security. “The idea is to allow producers in degraded areas to restore them and to be financed by this, obtaining income.” According to him, there are international agencies willing to fund these services. “But mechanisms are lacking to enable and implement this program,” he complains.
Vieira also defends the regularization of the land issue. “We need a less complex law, more objective and government agencies committed to its implementation. This has never been a priority of the responsible agencies,” he says, citing that in the Amazon the issue is even more important, since the region is subject to deforestation and of illegal logging – data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) indicate that 9.6 million hectares were deforested in the Legal Amazon between 2006 and 2017.
In addition, today only the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest are monitored. The Coalition proposes to extend monitoring to the Cerrado, the Caatinga, the Pantanal and the Pampas to allow the planning and implementation of measures necessary for the conservation of biodiversity throughout the national territory.
Taking into account that an important part of the wood consumed in Brazil is illegal, the Coalition also suggests that the government bars the purchase of irregular wood in its bids. In addition, it proposes multiannual plans for investment and action in the sector and calls for more technical assistance to the field, since, despite leading technologies, they do not always reach all producers.
Change of course
In the evaluation of Rachel Biderman, director of the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Brazil, the proposals offer a more competitive and modern alternative for the Brazilian agribusiness, which has been impacted by the lack of rainfall, crop failures and temperature records in productive regions. “It is necessary to adapt the productive sector to this new reality. It is a concise, well thought out proposal, the result of almost three years of work,” he says.
For her, it is fundamental that agricultural credit be directed to agriculture that favors low carbon emissions. “This is a simple decision and it is done with a pen in Brasilia after a meeting of the president with the ministers,” he says.
According to her, the world expects from Brazil important solutions because the country will be responsible for feeding a considerable part of the world population. “If we do not make the proposed course changes there, we will not be the strong economy that in 2050 will have global challenges of feeding the planet.” The climatologist Carlos Nobre is emphatic in saying: Brazil is the country that can contribute most to land use to reduce the risk of climate challenges. “It is perfectly feasible to produce sustainably by increasing productivity.”
Executive director of the Brazilian Association of Agribusiness, one of the main representative entities of the sector in the country, Luiz Cornachioni says that Brazilian agriculture must increase the sustainability of production more and more. “Without sustainability, we will not make a good agribusiness. That will make all the difference,” he says.
Cornachioni defends the greater adoption of low carbon agriculture with techniques such as crop-livestock-forest integration, which reconciles the production of grains, meat and wood in the same area at different times of the year. According to the ILPF Network, made up of Embrapa and government agencies, there are 13.7 million hectares of the technique in Brazil. “These are modern production mechanisms, but to adopt them we do not only need resources. rural to transfer these technologies and they reach more producers, “he says.
He also says it is fundamental to respect the Forest Code. To this end, the Coalition proposes that bank financing be linked to the implementation of the Code and to the non-existence of illegal deforestation, which has been hampered by the delay in implementing the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR).
The group also suggests the allocation of financial and human resources to ensure the validation of CAR. “We have goals to meet and this document will help the country, especially at a political moment like this, to bring important contributions and highlight a fundamental discussion,” says Cornachioni