Family Farming, Government and Corporations: A case study about the challenges of rural social enterprises innovations in Brazil

Zilma Borges | Armindo Teodósio | Luciel de Oliveira | Walter Mswaka
2015

EMES Conferences Selected Papers Series, ECSP-5EMES-41

This article scrutinises the challenges of adopting sustainable management models in family farming in Brazil. The study is based on the analysis of, of the Ecovida Network experience, a network of hundreds of family farmers in the South Region of Brazil. Researchers generally agree that contemporary agricultural activities are characterised by large agribusiness corporations that are capital-intensive. However there are concerns about their environmental and social impact. In contrast to this model of agricultural modernization, it appears a new way of family farming, based on small units of production in different communities ie ermeging, that promotes a better way of ensuring a more equitable distribution of income among communities. These family farming initiatives have tried to convert their business models to operate in a more sustainable basis, and the agroecology paradigm appears as an important framework for the promotion of sustainable development in family farming. We conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with representatives and participants of Ecovida Network and the Brazilian government. The results indicate that many advances have been made by family farmers in Brazil, but the market opportunities opened up by the creation of public policies based on agroecology production by family farmers bring new challenges for the small farmers. The main challenges are to maintain the principles of solidarity and collaborative work and expanding support of civil society organizations and government to allow better access to technology, credit and markets for family farmers.

ESCP-5EMES-41

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