The International Sustainability Seminar - Commitment to Conscious Consumption was also a stage for tributes. Members of the cooperatives associated with PDIS thanked their social partners for their support.
“The great honor is to be able to share this moment with those responsible for such unique products,” said Paulo Pompílio, Press and Institutional Relations Director of the Pão de Açúcar Group. “For us, it is recognition. The great honors go to them, the farmers,” said Pompílio.
The strong partnerships with the major retail chains made the direct sales possible and benefit the family farmer producers, who have the opportunity to increase their income. This is the cooperative alliance model, in which farmers, organized into a cooperative, use the services of the beneficiary industry – which comes up with a product of greater added value – and also receive the support of the selling company, which offers its shelves.
“It is very important to contribute toward the work of family farmers, because we make direct sales possible,” said Fábio Sento Sé, Social Responsibility Manager at GBarbosa and Coordinator of the GBarbosa Institute. “This eliminates the chain of middlemen, allowing those who live out in the fields to increase their income,” he said.
For Karina Chaves, Sustainability Manager at Carrefour Brasil, it is crucial to invest in family farming. “Carrefour has a public and worldwide commitment to the development of local communities,” she explained. “It is a privilege to be a part of this program.”
The Bahia Southern Lowlands Heart of Palm Producers’ Cooperative (COOPALM), Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Producers’ Cooperative (COOPATAN), Mixed Shellfish Farmers’, Fishermen’s and Aquafarmers’ Cooperative (COOPEMAR) and Pratigi Environmental Protection Rural Area Producers’ Cooperative (COOPRAP) are four institutions benefited by the Terramiga Program.
COOPALM, which gathers 500 farmers, recorded a 2,000% increase in market stake from 2009 to 2011, jumping from 49th place to the second most sold in Brazil. From 2007 to 2010, the number of boxes of heart of palm sold grew 463%, from 2,500 to 14,083 units, and earnings increased from R$ 2.07 million to R$ 12.7 million in 2010. The average income of the families accompanied this growth, increasing from R$ 379 to R$ 626 per month.
Lourivaldo Grima and his wife have been COOPALM members since 2004 and earn more than R$ 1,500 per month through the production of heart of palm alone. “After I began receiving technical monitoring, everything changed,” said Grima. “The productivity improved and so did our income. I know that we can count on the cooperative’s support, since we have a guaranteed market for our production,” he said.