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Yaguara Ecológico, Brazil

  • 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 Peebles Family farm, Várzea da Onça, is located in Taquartinga do Norte, Pernambuco. This high-altitude enclave is a part of a unique biome known as a “brejo de altitude”. There is extraordinary biodiversity within this ecosystem, with flora and fauna originating from a mix of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, Caatinga, Cerrado, and Amazon regions.

The farmers of Yaguara Ecológico // Source: Yaguara Ecológico

Over forty years the family has cared for a diverse polyculture of 125 hectares. It produces, processes, and markets a basket of products from roasted coffee, fruits, vegetables, nuts, to meat under the brand “Yaguara Ecológico”. In order to be regenerative, a smart food system must be established and with reNature’s collaboration, the aim is to further scale such a sustainable system.

Reclaiming indigenous land

This territory is part of an archipelago of high-altitude land formations with vast ecosystems. Temperature, rainfall, forest cover, land ownership, and land use are differentiated from the surrounding semi-arid lowlands. Indigenous cultures and small family landowners have sustained and nourished centennial traditions and practices of agricultural polyculture.

However, over the years indigenous groups and smallholders have abandoned the land giving way to monocultures, deforestation, and desertification often because of the lack of knowledge about sustainable land management, the food culture, and entrepreneurial skills. This archipelago of unique ecosystems is both sacred and fragile and thus in need of wise and caring stakeholders.

Source: Yaguara Ecológico

Fostering lasting change through education

Together with the Yaguara, reNature will develop a learning hub program (Model School) to facilitate the necessary capacity-building to fine-tune and upscale the existing pilot agroforestry system. Furthermore, through a seed bank, the availability of native seeds can be guaranteed to preserve the region’s genetic biodiversity.

Next to that, Yaguara wants to develop a model ETS (Emission Trading Schemes) and Carbon Credit Certification protocol. Revenues generated from carbon credits can be an incentive for farmers and landowners to practice the principles of regenerative agriculture and create a smart food system.

The goal is to scale and accelerate the understanding and dissemination of the principles and best practices of regenerative agriculture and to upgrade and expand key elements of a smart food system within this particular geographic terroir located in the semi-arid region of Northeast Brazil. This project is expected to benefit about 100 local farmers yearly.

Source: Yaguara Ecológico

A nature-first supply chain

The Yaguara project will apply sustainable and regenerative production techniques, involving the entire production chain to trigger the awareness of consumers of the holistic benefits of regenerative production methods. The philosophy of farm to table underpins overall strategic initiatives to continually refine best practices and harmonize each of the key food system elements in the creation of nutritional, quality foods. Scalability is needed to accelerate the dissemination and implementation of regenerative principles and practices as well as promote the preservation and regeneration of the planet’s resources. 

Reforesting denuded landscapes, reviving perennial polyculture, and stimulating the biological life of soils, will slow desertification and shrink carbon emissions in the process. By understanding basic land shapes and the movement of water over land, the design of topographical structures can improve hydration, and develop biologically active, fertile soils which store carbon.

A 20-hectare test site would bundle a set of regenerative techniques combined with the planting of a selection of perennial trees and cash crops. The site would be an experimental showcase and test site to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficacy of this model to regenerate the ecosystem and sequester carbon.

Source: Yaguara Ecológico

Changing the agricultural discourse for the community

Those who spread information to farmers are often deficient in ecological literacy. Many are captive to the agroindustrial paradigms of chemical and commodity-based production. Regenerative principles, biological strategies, smart food system concepts need to be understood and valued by those responsible for outreach and extension services to farmers. For this reason, a learning hub will be established on the Várzea da Onça farm demonstrating the value proposition of regenerative agriculture’s role in carbon sequestration and the creation of a smart food system in a participatory way.

The focus is to have a dynamic dialogue customized to the needs of thought leaders, influencers, agents of institutional development policy, chefs, minority small landholders, and local indigenous groups such as the Cariri who already have a strong and practicing agricultural background.

The Yaguara agricultural model is based on regenerative and ecological principles and practices. The business model vertically integrates the key elements of production, processing, and markets. This way it generates economic resilience through diversification of high-quality products, and a production system attentive to best practices at every level and stage of the food chain system.

The upscaling of agroforestry will enable more people to be hired, whilst the system itself will provide additional social benefits such as cleaner water and increased recreational value.

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