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ÂMAGO, Portugal

  • Definition
    Devising project idea, defining the aim and main components
  • Design
    Specifying details such as time-frame, budget, target indicators, project partners and relevant steps to reach the project objectives
  • Financing
    Searching and securing funding and investment, setting up relevant financing partnerships, and discussing payment modalities
  • Implementation
    Execution of feasibility studies, context analysis, plot design, planting and setting up facilities and starting with potential capacity-building
  • Maintenance
    Operational phase (monitoring and evaluation, impact assessments and adjustments, execution of educational programmes and long-term capacity building)
  • Scaling Up
    Scaling up phase is when the project it has already shown success by obtaining impact as well as economic results and it's ready to become replicable.

The ÂMAGO farm, situated in the beautiful Azores islands, is in many ways a typical small-scale family dairy farm common throughout the archipelago. It’s not easy: the current dairy model is unsustainable as farmers obtain negative margins on their milk. Moreover, the island’s monoculture grasslands smother biodiversity, and is ill-prepared for a changing climate.

ÂMAGO has set out to break free from the status quo by applying Holistic grazing Management and other practices for the benefit of cattle, land, and farmers. Now, ÂMAGO wants to push sustainable agriculture further by introducing Regenerative Agroforestry on their pasturelands.

ÂMAGO sets out to push sustainable agriculture further by introducing Regenerative Agroforestry on their pasturelands

Countering biodiversity loss and climate change, increasing margins

Dairy farming is a typical livelihood strategy for the inhabitants of the Azores, with this heritage spanning generations of proud smallholder farmers. However, where previously most of the Azores’ land was occupied by a variety of shrubs and trees, most of these lands have been converted to monoculture pastures under increasing human pressure. 

As a result, biodiversity is under great pressure with declining abundance of native species. In addition, the current farming model is not lucrative: negative margins render farmers dependent on subsidies to barely make ends meet. Adding climate change to that equation, smallholder farmers are stuck in a dire situation from which they desperately need to break out.

ÂMAGO will promote Holistic Management and Regenerative Agroforestry for the benefit of cattle, pasture, farmers, and nature. The project will help other struggling farmers to do the same by sharing knowledge and spreading awareness. The farm will become a model farm that would come to serve as an inspiration for around 2,000 small-scale farmers on all 9 islands of the archipelago.

Objective

The objective is to transform the current Azorean dairy farming model, and to set an example by creating a model farm from which knowledge of Regenerative Agroforestry and Holistic Management can be obtained and spread throughout the 9 islands of the archipelago.

As a result, biodiversity, climate-resilience, and soil health will be greatly improved. This will also economically benefit farmers and help dairy farmers maintain their traditional lifestyle, closely bound to the land and their close-knit communities.

Impacts on people, planet, and prosperity

Dairy farming is woven into the fabric of the identity of Azoreans, with many smallholder farmers dependent on it for their livelihood. Farmers all help one another out and have built years of trust with one another. This project will stimulate awareness and provide the knowledge so that farmers can hold on to their farms and lifestyles whilst making them economically resilient.

Through working with a diversity of native species, biodiversity will be increased on the archipelago. By investing in building soils and integrating an abundance of trees on the land, there is continuous improvement of carbon sequestration and soil health, for the benefit of both climate and biodiversity.

Introducing Regenerative Agroforestry systems and strengthening Holistic grazing Management will allow farmers to diversify their production and reduce input dependency, meaning they can break free of the current unsustainable grass monoculture model. By continuously building soils and improving pasture health, periods of drought will be able to be overcome without large economic losses.

Despite the beauty of the Azores, native tree abundance has declined due to increasing human pressure – reintroducing trees through Regenerative agroforestry could benefit biodiversity, climate, and increase margins for farmers.

Creating awareness amongst farmers and consumers

Through workshops, seminars, and farm visits, ÂMAGO will create awareness and knowledge amongst both consumers and farmers about the benefits of regenerative agroforestry and Holistic grazing Management, especially in the light of biodiversity loss and climate change. It will show how the tradition of dairy farming in the Azores can thrive, maintaining the lifestyle of the local community, whilst safeguarding the environment.

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