Holcim Brasil, Brazil: Income generation for rural producers in Magé.

Holcim Brasil, Brazil: Income generation for rural producers in Magé

  • To strengthen the relationship between the Aggregates Unit and the surrounding community.
  • To break the poverty cycle by an increase of 100% of the income of each participating family through the commercialization of agricultural products and products from a community kitchen.
  • To create the necessary conditions to transform the properties into a profitable sustainable agro-business.

Through a financial and technical partnership with FIRJAN, a community kitchen was built in 2009. The kitchen is seen as a way of engaging and mobilizing a group of rural producer women, and enabling them to qualify in food production techniques and commercial management, generate income and become sustainable.

Through training, "Unifaz" management became better able to effectively manage the association, and through the community kitchen, strengthen the association's sustainability. A model for marketing the agricultural products generated by the producers was also developed.

Twenty rural producers were selected to take part in the income generation program, and the details of their properties and skills were recorded. A new cooperative plantation system was then introduced, to transform currently unproductive rural properties, the produce was marketed and the producers given training in agricultural production techniques and management of rural properties.

Located near the community, the Agricultural School acts as the link between the producers and students on technical courses. Teachers and students were selected to analyze the school's potential for agricultural production, and seedlings and seeds were sent to the producers. The school was then used to train the local producers.

27 rural producers qualified in agricultural production techniques. They received a technical qualification, as well as technical supervision two days per week, with guidance about what to produce, how to plant, irrigation techniques, how to combat disease and, in the future, calculating sales and marketing prices. The transfer of financial and administrative knowledge has made "Unifaz" autonomous and, eventually, self-sustaining.

  • Within six months (July to December 2008), the average family income of the 27 rural producers has increased by 31%.
  • Between January to June 2009, the productivity of the rural producers increased by 19%.
  • 50% of the farmers who participate in the project were trained in Occupational Health and Safety.
  • The community kitchen, completed in 2009, has an area of 60m2 to be used by the community for the preparation of a regional sweet speciality and vegetables, and as a space for training in new food production techniques.
  • Financial partnerships were established with FIRJAN and RedEAmérica, a network of corporate foundations and companies for grassroots development.

The Agro Vale do Surui Project was developed over two years as a partnership between Holcim Magé plant, Holcim Institute, "Almirante Ernani do Amaral Peixoto" State School, the association of rural producers "Unifaz", FIRJAN (the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro) and the local community.

The project began in May 2007 in Magé, Brazil, about 60km from Rio de Janeiro. The region selected for the project - the Suruí River valley - is located in the area surrounding the Holcim (Brasil) Magé Aggregates Unit.