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PRESS RELEASENovember 7, 2022

In central Brazil, a new project will promote sustainability in the soybean and beef cattle value chains

Five states will be able to implement sustainable land management practices with World Bank support and under federal government coordination

BRASILIA, NOVEMBER 7th, 2022 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved today a grant agreement of US$24.58 million to implement a Sustainable Land Management (SLM) approach in the soybean and beef cattle value chains in the Cerrado biome and its surroundings. The Vertentes Project will cover approximately 47.2 million ha in the states of Bahia, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Minas Gerais, and in the Federal District.

Sustainable Land Management (SLM) presents a promising approach to agricultural intensification for these value chains in Brazil to reclaim vast areas of degraded pastures while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

Within the eligible 47.2 million ha, the project will target those areas assessed as the most critically degraded, aiming to implement SLM practices on 578,000 ha of agricultural lands, and to restore an additional 49,800 ha of degraded lands.

The project aims to support a total of 10,500 direct beneficiaries (targeting a minimum of 3,600 women) through training and technical assistance to strengthen SLM capacities and governance, and to implement sustainable agriculture practices. Among the total beneficiaries, 2,500 soybean and beef cattle producers and farmworkers will receive technical assistance.

To reach these goals, the Vertentes Project will engage agricultural private and public sector actors. This innovative approach to promoting sustainability in production landscapes is also considered more cost-effective than the traditional production approach and can be adapted to other areas in Brazil.

“Brazil is an important player both in the global environment and food production system, and the Cerrado is an agricultural powerhouse. Enabling sustainable investments will be key to ensuring food security without depleting the biome’s natural resources,” said Johannes Zutt, the World Bank Country Director for Brazil.

“The National Service for Rural Apprenticeship (SENAR) is committed to developing actions, programs and projects focused on sustainability, and international partners like the World Bank are most welcome. This project will help the rural sector adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects and show that rural producers become more competitive and more sustainable when supported with technical assistance actions and training. In addition, it will promote social inclusion in rural areas,” said Andréa Barbosa Alves, Director of Technical and Management Assistance at SENAR.

Brazil is the world’s second largest food exporter and the agriculture sector, including livestock production, plays a significant role in the Brazilian economy. Agriculture and agribusiness account for about 8.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product; 16.2 percent of total employment; and 40 percent of total exports.

The Cerrado, which covers almost one quarter of the country (approximately 204 million ha), is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and accounts for 70 percent of Brazil’s agricultural production overall. It is a beef cattle land-conversion hotspot and a globally important beef-exporting region, accounting for about 55 percent of Brazil’s beef; and 54 percent of the soybean produced for cattle feed.

The Vertentes Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), under the Food Production, Land Use and Restoration Impact Program (FOLUR).

The initiative is enabled by a technical cooperation agreement between the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), with the World Bank as the implementing agency and the National Service for Rural Apprenticeship (SENAR) as the executing agency.

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