What was the market situation?
Brazil is the world’s second-largest soybean producer (after the US) with more than 119 million tons of soybeans harvested in the 2017 – 18 season. Of that total, 64.4 million tons were exported in the first eight months of 2018, making soybeans Brazil’s leading export commodity, mainly to China. Given the significance of this crop, local soybean farmers are increasingly investing in good agricultural practices to continue soybean production in a sustainable way. This process is facilitated by certification such as the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS).
This Food Chain Partnership project is based on collaboration between Bayer, COMIGO, and Aliança da Terra. COMIGO, a cooperative founded in Rio Verde, Goiás, in 1975 for processing, industrializing, and commercializingagricultural products, has its core business in soy.
Currently, COMIGO is made up of about 7,500 farmer members, making it one of Brazil’s six largest cooperative organizations. Bayer and COMIGO have already been partners for more than 30 years. Aliança da Terra, a Brazilian NGO, connects farmers, researchers, environmentalists, and entrepreneurs in the agribusiness to promote environmental awareness and good land management practices.
left: Antonio Chavaglia, COMIGO; right: João Prudente, Bayer Brazil
What was the solution?
Besides supplying innovative crop protection products, Bayer offered its Valore program to support the soybean farmers in incorporating good agricultural practices and ensuring a sound symbiosis of productivity, profitability, and socio-environmental responsibility. Valore consists of three steps: a diagnostic visit to a farm, followed by a plan of action; a suitability process; and finally the audit and, if successful, certification. A decisive step was the implementation of COMIGO’s own Pensar Valore program to support its soybean growers in achieving certification. And last but not least, the close collaboration between COMIGO, Aliança da Terra, and Bayer was essential to the project’s success.