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FEATURE STORY

Brazil aims to lower carbon emissions using new agriculture technologies in the Cerrado Biome

August 4, 2014

Brazil is one of the most important food producers in the world, with 5 million rural farmers

The world population is on track to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. With this in mind, Brazilian agriculture experts are urgently trying to develop a sustainable system capable of addressing a strain on the global food supply through new agriculture technologies to increase productivity with low carbon emissions.

On August 1st, the Brazil Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (Mapa), Brazil Agriculture Research Company (Embrapa), the National Rural Learning Service (SENAR) and the World Bank launched a project to boost productivity and reduce further devastation of the Cerrado Biome, a vast savanna-forest that covers 2.04 million km2, equal to one quarter of the total area of the country. Brazil is one of the most important food producers in the world, with 5 million rural farmers.

“It is well known that Brazil has enormous agriculture potential and thus we believe the country has all the conditions necessary to promote sustainable agricultural practices,” said Brazil's Operations Adviser Boris Utria. “We expect excellent results that may be able to be replicated in other countries.”

In the next three years, the ABC Cerrado initiative is expected to benefit 12,000 medium-scale producers with a US$10.6 million grant provided by the Forest Investment Program of the Climate Investment Funds. The aim is to develop low carbon emission technologies and to build technical capacity, especially in rural areas.

“Brazil agriculture production has increased exponentially in the past decades. Without technology this would not be possible,” explained Senior Rural Specialist David Tuchschneider. “Today, there is an abundant amount of degraded land in the country, so this project will invest in tools that aim to make these lands more productive.”

In order to implement new low carbon agriculture practices, by the first quarter of 2015, the first step will be to build on technical capacity that is currently being developed by Embrapa and to conduct field visits.

The project seeks to:

  • Recover degraded pastures, 
  • Integrate crops to livestock and forest
  • Improve the tillage system; 
  • Reforest the Cerrado Biome.

The ABC Cerrado Project will be implemented in the nine states of the Cerrado Biome: Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins, Maranhão, Bahia, Piauí, Minas Gerais and the Federal District.