The Brazilian Amazon is the region with the world’s largest remaining tropical forest and attracts considerable attention because of forest losses. Causes of deforestation in the region include increasing demand for commodities, infrastructure development, land speculation and the lack of alternative livelihoods for farmers and rural communities.
The lack of viable alternative causes smallholders to be trapped in poverty and to expand to new forested areas in order to maintain a productive system based on extensive cattle ranching, resulting in more deforestation.
In order to improve living conditions without the need to deforest, Solidaridad and partners are developing a landscape intervention that includes the development of low carbon business alternatives to smallholders. As a native species in the region, Cocoa agroforestry systems, combined with good practices for cattle ranching, have great potential to stimulate local economic development whilst protecting the forest in the Brazilian Amazon.
Considering this, Solidaridad has initiated the “Program for Promoting Low Carbon Smallholder Business” in the Transamazônica Region in the State of Para, with a pilot project in the municipality of Novo Repartimento. It involves the promotion of sustainable cocoa production in a comprehensive approach addressing core challenges to improve yields and increase profitability as well as ensuring environmental governance. The main partners involve are Cargill, Executive Commission on the Cocoa Farming Plan (CEPLAC) and State Secretariats of Agriculture and Environment.
The initiative is also supporting the local technical assistance with public and private partners and the implementation of Solidaridad Rural Horizons platform, a methodology of continuous improvement for cocoa smallholders.