In December, 18 family farmers benefited by the Land Conservation Organization (OCT in Portuguese) have been awarded the SisOrg (Organic Brazil – Organic Conformity Assessment System) seal for use in the labels of their products. Managed by the Brazilian Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply - MAPA, the seal identifies and controls the national production of organic food and allows direct sales to consumers, industries, processors, supermarkets and even for export.
Conquered through the organic compliance check of the Povos da Mata (Forest People) Network, an association formed by more than 260 family farmers from the regions of Ibirapitanga, Serra Grande, Ilhéus/Itabuna and Arataca, in Bahia, the certification has a participatory characteristic, where the farmers themselves validate one other. Ana Paula Matos, OCT’s Productive Conservation Leader, explains. "As a form of socio-productive organization, six groups have been organized and they meet on a monthly basis on the properties of their members in order to assess and verify the organic compliance in each area. This promotes the exchange of knowledge and encourages the qualification of conservationist management," she said.
According to Luciano Ferreira, farmer who took part in the evaluations, the certification strengthens the Network as a whole. "Agroecology works as a whole: environmental conservation, agro-ecological production, income generation and marketing. These new groups have very interesting products and can open new markets." Still according to Ferreira, the work being developed by OCT with the producers was important in the evaluation process. "I was very impressed with the areas and I really enjoyed the properties I have visited," he reiterates. OCT is supported by the Odebrecht Foundation through the PDCIS Program.
According to Eduardo Mamédio, Project Coordinator at OCT, the positive results demonstrated by the beneficiaries are the fruition of actions that have been aimed at, for this specific public, since 2012. "The achievement of the organic seal is a proof of the good work done by all, both farmers and technical staff". Marivaldo Santos, a small producer from the Vale do Juliana community in Igrapiúna (BA), confirms: "I've been walking the right road for a long time and I will not go back." The farmer is part of the group of 18 that have already been certified and its production is 100% organic.