- DefinitionDevising project idea, defining the aim and main components
- DesignSpecifying details such as time-frame, budget, target indicators, project partners and relevant steps to reach the project objectives
- Open to FinancingSearching and securing funding and investment, setting up relevant financing partnerships, and discussing payment modalities
- ImplementationExecution of feasibility studies, context analysis, plot design, planting and setting up facilities and starting with potential capacity-building
- MaintenanceOperational phase (monitoring and evaluation, impact assessments and adjustments, execution of educational programmes and long-term capacity building)
- Scaling UpScaling 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.
At the heart of Minas Gerais, Ecofarms is part of the Brazilian biome called Cerrado, a vast tropical savanna ecoregion. With an area of 1182 hectares, Ecofarms is a cattle farm with the aim to maintain the biodiversity of the region, mitigate climate change and increase animal welfare. The farm already started a project of 80 hectares with the purpose of producing quality meat while neutralizing methane produced by animals by planting trees on pastures, known as a silvopastoral system. In partnership with reNature the aim is to improve and scale this project.
The meat is marketed through Granbeef, a dutch sustainable meat brand that sells and distributes the meat that comes from the animals of Ecofarms.
Changing the conversation around livestock
Livestock activity is estimated to be responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazilian agriculture, mainly due to methane (CH4) emissions, which has 21 times higher global warming potential than CO2. With the introduction of silvopastoral systems, the emissions from herds can be neutralized. However, expert knowledge of silvopastoral systems is missing, especially in remote, rural areas of Brasil. For this reason, reNature will support this project with a model school to enable capacity-building for farmers in the region.
One of the main aims of Ecofarms is carbon sequestration. Ecofarms is part of the support base for the concept of sustainable livestock production, promoting, through its own label (Granbeef), the efforts of the Neutral Livestock Project participants. Throughout the project, there will be a surplus of 1,590.68 tons of CO2 equivalent. Furthermore, more than 40% of the ranch is covered by native forest and according to a survey conducted of its fauna, it has been discovered that the area has abundant wildlife. Contributing to the integrity of riparian forests, springs and, especially, with the prevention of erosion, the regeneration of the entire ecosystem is favoured, providing an environmental balance.
reNature will help design and implement a demonstration plot visualizing a commercial, regenerative practice (Model Farm) to build on the necessary technical knowledge and capacities among neighbouring farmers. This will empower them to adopt Ecofarms silvopastoral practices. Simultaneously, the company will increase its own capacities enabling holistic upscaling and increased production whilst serving as an off-taker for the new silvopastoral farmers.
Overall, this project aims to conserve a unique, biodiverse ecosystem while creating viable, regenerative, commercial opportunities through agroforestry and silvopasture. As well as generating awareness among producers and consumers that cattle farming can be carbon neutral with the introduction of silvopastoral management.
Empowering farmers as a vehicle for change
The alliances with reNature and Ecofarms will drive socio-economic impacts as well as local wildlife preservation. The educational value of agroforestry plots will help new professionals to become change agents for a sustainable food system. Furthermore, the impact of this project is intrinsically linked with the productivity of farmland and, thus, the prosperity of its farmers. Agroforestry techniques will improve the management and retention of water through ground cover and shading. It will counteract erosion and desertification, whilst implying a farming system that is more resilient to climate change. This will improve the climate impact of the project.
Through the example of agroforestry, this project is supposed to increase diversification and ecosystem services. Hence, it will lead to more productivity and higher profits for employees. Additionally, it is a source of healthy, diverse foods and ensuring stable and secure food availability locally. Together it improves the livelihoods of surrounding communities. Together with reNature, a great focus will be added on the education of employees to receive training for activities performed on the farm, which will also be open to the community.
With the increasing diversification of crops and cattle, the profits of the farm will increase and become more stable, which will have a spillover effect on local communities. Also, though improvement of actions related to soil and water management major steps towards the ecological intensification of production are taken. Thus ensuring the harmonious coexistence of the evolution of environmental quality indicators with the economic outcome of the project. Economic results can already be seen by the Ecofarms meat brand, Gran Beef, which is Rainforest certified. This way farmers will be linked to the global value chain and raise awareness among national and international consumers.