Collection of Baru fruits is a community activity. Credit: Agroecology Fund

Creating Biodiversity Value Chains for 70 Forest Products to Conserve the Cerrado in Brazil

Organization Centro de Desenvolvimento Agroecológico do Cerrado
Project Type Regenerative Agriculture

There are five main project categories: Energy Transition focuses on renewable energy access and energy efficiency. Nature Conservation includes wildlife habitat protection and ecosystem restoration, as well as indigenous land rights. Regenerative Agriculture supports farmers, ranchers and community agriculture. Climate Change covers global science efforts, climate adaptation, and social justice work.

Status Open

Open indicates any project that needs core programmatic funding.

Funding Level $$

$$ indicates a project with a funding need between $50,000-$250,000.

Timeframe Ongoing

Centro de Desenvolvimento Agroecológico do Cerrado, or the Agroecology Development Center of the Brazilian Savannah (CEDAC) is a solidarity network of small farmers that was founded in 2000. It works with around 4,500 families from 223 rural communities in central Brazil. Most families -- including those from the Afro-Brazilian communities or quilombolas -- make their living collecting wild plants in the cerrado region. 

The season goes from June to October and collection is a collective activity involving community members. Credit: Agroecology Fund

Brazil's cerrado, the most biodiverse savannah in the world, contains the largest freshwater reservoir of South America. Covering nearly a third of the country, the cerrado is home to more than 35 million people. In recent decades, the Cerrado has been stripped of its native vegetation to create pasture, industrial farmland, and for charcoal production, with obvious dire implications for climate change.

For the past two decades, CEDAC has developed and disseminated methods of sustainable management of the cerrado and its native forest species, by combining traditional knowledge and partnerships with research. In partnership with Coopcerrado -- the farmers' network cooperative -- they have created biodiversity value chains for more than 70 forest species. Among them the Baru nut, a superfood of savannah forest that is increasingly popular among consumers in Brazil and internationally. 

Credit: Agroecology Fund

CEDAC coordinates the certification of produce according to the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) -- a less expensive peer certification system than third-party systems, assists with value addition, and helps leverage investment projects in agroecology. 

The Agroecology Fund has been supporting CEDAC and Coopcerrado since 2019, to scale up these successful practices through the multiplication of Agroecology Living Centers, on-farm systems where farmers exchange agroecological knowledge and innovative strategies with each other. Lack of access to credit is a limitation that CEDAC has identified. To meet this challenge, AEF has provided resources to pilot the Guarantee Fund for Agroecology (FGA), a type of revolving fund that makes loans to farmers and provides a guarantee for them to obtain bank loans.

CEDAC and their Coopcerrado initiative demonstrate that access to markets is a fundamental step towards scaling agroecological production and ensuring biodiversity conservation, thus reducing the negative impacts of agriculture on climate. It also shows the necessity for new financial structures to share benefits and overcome poverty.

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