By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Government agencies are helping encourage sustainability in rural organic agriculture production with some recent success in Rio state. The Rio Rural program, of the Secretariat of Agriculture, has committed to technical assistance and financial incentives to support farms.
In Saquarema, in the Região dos Lagos (Lakes Region) for example, organic production is being adopted by more and more farmers, with the help of EMATER-RIO technicians and consultants from ABIO (Organic Farmers Association of the State of Rio de Janeiro) for organic certification.
The work, started almost fourteen years ago, according to the technicians themselves, gained strength through the Rio Rural program about two years ago.
At the end of 2016, another group obtained certification, which guarantees the authentication of organic production and creates new sales opportunities, among them the possibility of participating in public notices of food procurement, such as the PNAE (National School Feeding Program).
Hélio Martins dos Santos, a EMATER-RIO extension worker, told government news, “Eight producers were certified and four more are in the process of certification. We held meetings with the groups, together with the ABIO team, explaining that everyone needs to be part of the Participative Guarantee System (SPG), which helps to supervise production among the farmers themselves and the exchange of information between them.”
Expatriate in Rio and co-owner of Mexican restaurant Azteka in Ipanema, Aglika Angelova, emphasizes the use of organic ingredients. “Organic food production and consumption is growing really fast in Rio,” she says.
Angelova adds, “More and more general grocery stores have organic produce and products sections, there are more and more smaller natural/organic stores opening, and the number of weekly fresh organic markets is growing as well.”
“The number of farmers who directly sell their products at the weekly organic markets has grown also, over the last five years,” she explains. “This is great for gringos who are used to these products AND it also draws more Brazilians to consume organic products frequently.”
The government news source reports that the organic foods encouraged by the Rio Rural program are produced with the adoption of sustainable techniques, contributing to the population’s health and sustainability of the planet.
The report noted that all producers who market organic products at fairs are encouraged to leave their certificates exposed so that consumers are assured that the food was actually produced following organic agriculture methods.