At 52 years old and living in the Vale do Juliana community, in Igrapiúna (BA), Marivaldo Santos is "a conscious farmer", as he has entitled himself. On his property, certified in 2015 by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) with the support of the Land Conservation Organization (OCT in Portuguese), a sign made by his own hand warns: do not throw trash on the ground. The care is soon perceived by those who know the place, which holds a cascade of crystal clear water and many trees and flowers.
"We need to preserve nature to continue producing for the future generations to know how it is. I know that the work should be done in conjunction so that this wealth can never end," says the cocoa farmer, who admits to have acquired such consciousness in 2012, after the support and the technical assistance received from the OCT, an institution that integrates the environmental aspect of the Odebrecht Foundation’s Development and Growth Program Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS).
Through access to knowledge and capacity building initiatives, Marivaldo started to adopt new techniques and procedures in his plot, respecting the conservation of natural resources, and as a result he became one of the 17 certified farmers in the Pratigi Environmental Protection Area."The OCT and the certification brought only good things for the region," he says.
His cocoa cultivation came to be carried out in the form of a biodiverse Agroforestry System (SAF) – a farming model which combines simultaneously tree species (fruit and/or timber) with crops – encompassingcupuaçu (a tipical tropical fruit in Brazil), clove, rubber tree, cocoa, jackfruit, avocado, Genipap and cassava, among others. The result was felt in numbers. In 2015, the income from the three-hectare property was of R$ 5.4000, 22% higher than in 2012. "I did not know that so many beautiful things would happen on my property. I now have my cocoa, but also my native seedlings. My plot is more organized because I write everything I do," he said.
Going beyond the financial progress, the respect for the environment and becoming an example for other producers in the region were, according to the farmer, the biggest changes in his life. "We live in an environmental protection area and have to take care of what is ours. So, I have share what I know. There is no use in keeping all to myself, "he says.
Marivaldo is also part of the group of 20 Sustainable Agriculture Multiplying Farmers (AMAS), which stood out by the procedures adopted in their properties and by the reapplication capacity of the acquired knowledge "We are landscape managers and we are building the future. That's very good," he concludes.