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Resilience of Smallholder Farms in the Brazilian Cerrado: An Interdisciplinary and Participatory Assessment Framework Jennifer Blesh Assistant Professor,

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Presentation on theme: "Resilience of Smallholder Farms in the Brazilian Cerrado: An Interdisciplinary and Participatory Assessment Framework Jennifer Blesh Assistant Professor,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Resilience of Smallholder Farms in the Brazilian Cerrado: An Interdisciplinary and Participatory Assessment Framework Jennifer Blesh Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment University of Michigan 5 May 2014

2 Agrarian Reform in the Cerrado

3 Socioecological Research in MT

4 Food System Resilience Capacity to produce and access nutritious food in the face of uncertainty, without diminishing other vital ecosystem services Ecologists have asked: Resilience of what to what? Can we manage for resilience? We are also asking: How? Resilience for whom? Who decides? Participatory assessment of the resilience of food sovereignty practices Resilience includes adaptive capacity, transformative potential and human agency

5 Food Sovereignty Transnational agrarian social movement that emerged in mid-1990s (in response to inequity) Calls for rights of farmers, fishers, and consumer-citizens to determine food and agricultural policy and practice, respecting cultural and productive diversity Landless rural workers movement (MST)

6 The MST Promotes Agroecology Food producing, biodiverse Mixtures of perennials and annuals, including horticulture, agroforestry, rotational grazing, etc. Low external input Target diverse markets: local market development, social economy, emphasize social equity

7 Research Questions What does the MST’s ideal model (agroecology and food sovereignty) look like in practice? How do agroecological practices emerge in the Cerrado, and how are they sustained? To what effect?

8 Study Sites Mato Grosso—42 MST-organized settlements, with a total of 4,254 families Settlements sampled: Tangará da Serra and Mirassol D’Oeste/Araputanga (ARPA)

9 Mixed-methods Assessment focus groups (n = 6) participant observation in-person farmer survey (n=60) qualitative interviews (n = 30) farm families networks that support family farming analysis of soil samples (n = 52 fields): particulate OM, C, N, and P quantification of indicators from sample and survey data

10 Indicators of Resilience IndicatorWhat was measured Income Desired household income level Achieve desired income level through agriculture (Y/N)? Food self-sufficiency Household consumption levels of common foods Source of foods (own production, settlement, market) Agrobiodiversity # of crops sold/season Cropping Systems Management Characterizing crop rotations and cropping systems Crop rotation, fertility amendments, reliance on legume N Soil fertility/soil phosphorous (P) Basic characterization (pH, Total N, C, P, texture, etc.) Particulate OM pools and C and N content Political participation Marketing structure Cooperative or Individual Technical Assistance Access to technical assistance Level of expertise/involvement Milk Production Pasture area (l/ha/year) # cows (l/cow/year)

11 Descriptive Statistics: Farmer Survey MedianMeanSE Farmer/Household Characteristics Years of formal schooling Adults working on farm (#) Distance to nearest city (km) Labor (hours/week/household) Land Use Characteristics Size of lot (ha) Annual crops (ha) Perennial crops (ha) Pasture (ha) Native forest or reserve (ha) Secondary forest or brush (ha) Certified organic (%)35.6 Dairy (%)65.6 Cows (#) Chickens (#) Pigs (#)

12 Marketing Strategies Tangará da Serra ARPA

13 Brazil: Fome Zero Programs Agricultural Credit New settlers, women, value- added and processing School Lunch Program: PNAE 30% must be procured from small-scale farmers ~2000 municipalities are participating Public Procurement: PAA Guaranteed markets for small scale production Donated to schools, hospitals, food banks

14 Agrobiodiversity and Soil P **

15 PAA Improves Several FS Indicators Food self-sufficiency HH income Technical assistance Political participation Milk production CS management Agrobiodiversity Soil P

16 PAA Participation: Source: CONAB contracts, Tangará da SerraARPA #% small farmers* % all farmers #% small farmers* % all farmers * small-scale farms ≤ 50ha

17 Challenges: PAA Labor for horticultural production Lack of infrastructure/machinery Distance from urban markets Poor road and transportation conditions Lack of internet/phone service Lack of technical assistance Prior agricultural experience not in horticulture or marketing New to regional/ecological knowledge

18 Concluding Thoughts Learn from existing innovation Agroecological production for local markets, especially through government purchasing programs (PAA) Multidimensional analysis Identify successes, trade-offs, leverage points for food system transformation Cerrado is a challenging setting for the MST’s efforts Biophysical: climate change, dry season, soils Social: Regional socio-technical infrastructure supports commodity production (markets, roads, infrastructure) Knowledge systems and resources for agroecological production are weak in the Cerrado

19 Concluding Thoughts Place-based resilience in Brazilian Cerrado: Bottom up and top down Pressure from agrarian movement intersecting with state policy change Still missing infrastructure and knowledge “in the middle”

20 Thank You Hannah Wittman José Fernando Scaramuzza Wendy Wolford Laurie Drinkwater Farmer participants Field and lab assistants NSF IRFP (Project #: )

21 Mato Grosso Crop Production (ha) Data from IGBE, 2013

22 IndicatorUnitsRaw ScaleHow optimum determined MinMaxOpt. Household incomeProportion of farmers achieving ideal income through farming 011Farmer survey and focus group questions about ideal income (Reais/month) Food self-sufficiencySurvey score based on whether none, some, most or all household food comes from the farm or community 039 Selected 100% of food from farm or neighbors (community) Soil P% of sampled fields that have recommended soil P (Mehlich I mg kg -1 ) 0100 Regional extension recommendations for clayey and sandy soils* AgrobiodiversityTotal number of crops sold/year02215Selected 75% quartile of survey distribution Cropping systems management Survey score based on crop rotation, fertility inputs, and use of legume N sources 044Highest possible score from suvey questions Milk productionliters/ha/year Selected 75% quartile of distribution Political participationSurvey score based on type of markets022Highest possible score from survey question Technical assistanceSurvey score based on access to assistance (frequency and quality) 022Highest possible score from survey question * Optimum concentration of Mehlich-I extractable P ranged from mg kg -1 based on textural analysis (citation) Indicators and Scale

23 Management Characteristics Fertility inputsAllPAANon-PAA fertilizer (%) manure (%) legume (%) none (%) Use of pesticides (%) Only seven of the sampled fields were in legume- based management

24 Food Self-Sufficiency Beans RiceMilk Beef Chicken Corn Cassava PorkEggsPasta Vegetables Fruit

25 Conceptual Model Food Sovereignty Ecological Resilience Global National/Regional State/Landscape Community/HH WTO, climate variation Govn’t subsidies and programs; conservation policies soil quality, slope; infrastructure, roads Land tenure, education, farm/field mgmt.

26 National PAA Trends 700,000, ,000, ,000, ,000, ,000, ,000, ,000,000 0

27 Brazil: Institutionalizing Food Sovereignty The realization of the human right to adequate food and to food and nutritional security requires respect for sovereignty, that confers on countries the primacy of their decisions around the production and consumption of food. Law No September 15, 2006 [through] promoting sustainable agro-ecological systems for producing and distributing food, that respect biodiversity and strengthen family agriculture, indigenous peoples, and traditional communities that ensure the consumption and access to adequate and healthy food, respecting the diversity of national food cultures... incorporating into State policy respect for food sovereignty and the human right to adequate food. Decree No August 25, 2010

28 Mato Grosso Crop Production (ha)

29 Soil has OM pools with differing turnover times Some pools are more responsive to management: potential to manage pools with year to decadal turnover for internal nutrient cycling capacity POM is related to the mineralizable N pool Size and density fractionation (Marriot and Wander, 2006) to separate free and occluded POM fPOM: macro – 500 μm oPOM: 53 – 250 μm POM N: Indicator of soil fertility

30 Density and Size Fractionation

31 Variability in Study Site Soils

32 Occluded POM and % Clay R 2 =0.26 p=0.001 y=221.4x

33 Increased N in organic matter


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