Adapta Sertão - A Social Enterprise to Adapt Small Farmers to Climate Change Impacts

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Adapta Sertão - A Social Enterprise to Adapt Small Farmers to Climate Change Impacts

Brazil
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Adapta Sertão is a partnership between manufacturers of efficient irrigation technologies, micro-credit institutions and local farmers' cooperatives. Objective: provide farmers living in the semi-arid region and in areas affected by climate change with water efficient irrigation kits that increse the yield of local crops.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The semi-arid region of northeaster Brazil (sertão) is the poorest in the country. It concentrates about 50% of the poorest population of Brazil (20 million people). The local economy is still based on subsistence agriculture and pasture. Both activities are still very inefficient because they are based on very obsolete practices such as “cut and clear” of the caatinga (the local bioma) and hand irrigation of subsistence crops. Such inefficiencies are the main cause of poverty in the region. The sertão is also suffering of large rainfall variability and recurrent droughts that affect crop yields and that according to the IPCC and international scientific reports are expected to increase due to climate change. The region has several hundreds of artifical water damns that have been constructed to increase water supply in the region but that are nor used because of lack of irrigation and water pumping technologies.
About You
Organization:
REDEH
Section 1: About You
First Name

Daniele

Last Name

Cesano

Website
Organization

REDEH

Country
Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

REDEH

Organization Phone

55-21-2262-1704

Organization Address

Rua Álvaro Alvim, 21/16º andar Centro - CEP 20031-010 Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brasil

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Innovation
What makes your idea unique?

The idea is unique because is tackling old and new problems (poverty, malnutrition, climate change impacts in semi-arid regions) from a market and social entrepreneurship perspective. The most innovative component is the creation of a distribution network of efficient irrigation technologies across the semi-arid region to increase the yield of local crops by facilitating a partnership between technological providers, micro-credit programs and local farmers' cooperatives. REDEH has been facilitating this process by creating the link between the different organizations involved: drip irrigation manufacturers, water pump providers, producers of organic fertilizers and seeds on one side; microfinance institutions that provide finance to the farmers on the other side; and the local cooperatives that facilitate the process by selling technology to farmers through the micro-credit programs offered by the local micro-financing institutions. The other innovative component is that REDEH will facilitate the selling of the production of the farmers that will install the system to local and regional buyers, increasing the supply of local food and income of farmers.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
What impact have you had?

Positive impacts already achieved by the project
- Improved livelihood of 50 farmers that are associated to Adapta Sertão and of their families (estimation of 300 people directly benefited so far), indirectly the project has impacted the population of four municipalities which are tuned to the need of improving agriculture methods and commercialization of these products, estimated approximately in 40 thousand
- Creating a distribution network of irrigation technologies supported by a revolving fund in 4 municipalities of the state of Bahia. This will open the opportunity to small farmers living in each municipality to have access to modern irrigation technologies. The common irrigation technology in the region is hand irrigation.
- Build specific capacity among 50 farmers on how to grow organic crops more effectively
- Improving nutrition in the 50 families that have been associated to the projects
- Train 8 technicians in efficient irrigation technologies to provide specific technical assistance to farmers, helping young people to develop new professions.
- Improve the income of farmers of 100% or more
- Engagement of four local community radio stations with the purpose of disseminating Adapta Sertão, contributing to culture change.
- Engagement of the elementary and secondary school of Pintadas that count 687 students with the project, transforming it in an example that illustrates the use of technology to cultivate small pieces of land.

Actions

The objective of Adapta Sertão is to decrease poverty in the sertão by (1) providing small farmers with efficient irrigation technologies to increase their crop yields and (2) by helping farmers commercialize their products in local and regional markets. The main reason why small farmers are not able to increase their crop yields is because they do not have access to water efficient irrigation technology and to modern and applied agronomic knowledge. Adapta Sertão is overcoming these barriers by entering into a partnership with technological providers of high quality but low cost drip irrigation kits and micro-credit institutions that provide credit on sale for the irrigation technologies. Local farmers’ cooperatives are acting as the local retailers for the technology and also help building capacity on organic farming and commercialize the products. Fifty small scale farmers are already benefiting from this innovative arrangement.

Results

- Already improved the livelihood of the 50 farmers that are associated to Adapta Sertão so far and of their families (estimation of 300 people directly benefited so far)
- By 2012, over 500 farmers engaged and 1000 farmers by 2015
- Improved access to water for irrigation in the each municipalities where Adapta Sertão has been operating
- Increase water efficiency in irrigation in the four municipalities where Adapta Sertão has been operating
- Build specific capacity among 50 farmers on how to grow organic crops more effectively
- Improving nutrition in the families that are associated to the project
- Train 8 technicians so far in efficient irrigation technologies to provide specific technical assistance to farmers, helping young people to develop new professions.
- Train over 40 technicians to support local farmers with technical questions by 2012
- Improve the income of farmers of 100% or more

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

2010:
- expanding the revolving fund that is loaning money to farmers to buy irrigation technologies to about $ 300,000
- systematize the past experience into communication and capacity building kits to be used in the expansion into other municipalities
- monitoring the performance of the system and have exact cost-benefit estimates of the technological systems that are being disseminated
- engage an additional 50 farmers in 4 other municipalities
2011
- enter into partnership with a local and regional buyer of food where farmers can sell the surplus of their production
- further expand the project in an additional 6 municipalities with 100 farmers engaged
- build capacity of local technicians in efficient irrigation systems and organic production (2 in each municipality)
2012
- Expand the revolving fund of an additional $150,000
- enter into an additional 6 municipalities, engaging an additional 100 farmers (total of 300 farmers)
- start planning an integratd production among all farmers cooperatives
- have entered into a partnership with a larger food distributors

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Adapta Sertao is already a success in the four municipalities where it is operating. However, it is expected that to have long lasting impacts and be sustainable over the long term, the project has to be scaled up to at least 16 municipalities and/or a minimum of 300 to 500 farmers. It will not be a success to deliver better livelihood to a larger community if:
- There is a lack of finance to the revolving fund that loans money to farmers that want to buy irrigation technologies
- Not having closed a partnership with a buyer of the surplus production of the farmers
- Not being able to scale the project up to outreach a minimum of 16 municipalities and about 500 farmers

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

1. REDEH - Network for Human Development and; 2. Centro Clima at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

No

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Adapta Sertão acts as a catalyser to help existing institutions collaborate in an innovative way and create value on mutually beneficial partnerships. It is mainly working with: 1. Local communities of small farmers; 2. Local farmers’ cooperatives; 3. Local credit cooperatives; 4. Technological providers; 5. NGOs; 6. Manufactures of food and super-market chains. Today irrigation technology is sold merely in large urban areas, several hundred kilometres away from small farmers. Adapta Sertão is overcoming these barriers by entering into a partnership with technological providers of high quality that provide low cost but high quality drip irrigation kits to local farmers cooperatives. These cooperatives are acting as the local retailers for the technology and also help building capacity on organic farming. Local credit cooperatives provide the micro-finance that allow farmers to buy the irrigation technologies. Local and regional retailers will buy the extra production fro the farmers, increaisng their income. The State Secretary of Scince and Technology of Bahia State is supervising the process to see how to develop new social and poverty eradication policies.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

(in order of importnace)
1. Get finance to expand the revolving fund that lends money to the farmers to buy irrigation systems
2. Get into partnership with local or regional retailers of food that buy the extra production from farmers
3. Have visibility and networking to expand the project to other municipalities in the region

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The project started in 2004 during a site visit of REDEH (the proposing organization) to a small drip irrigation project in the municipality of Valente that is located in the semi-arid region of the state of Bahia. The farmer was using drip irrigation with rain water collected in a large water reservoir to grow subsistence crops. The farmer showed to be resilient to droughts and could grow more products than his neighbours without being much affected by climate variability. Despite the presence of several small açudes in the region, none of the neighbouring farmer was using such a system. The base of the economy in the region continued to be subsistence agriculture based on hand irrigation and pasture. Hand irrigation is still the predominant irrigation technology in the region among the poorest farmers. The alternative is inundation irrigation and water trenches, both very water inefficient techniques.
It was from the observation of this reality and by keeping exchanging information with other several organizations that REDEH started in 2004 an articulation of technical, human and financial resources to incubate new practices with the objective of helping small and medium farmers living in the semi-arid of the state of Bahia have access to technology and adapt to climate change.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The long-term and general objective of Adapta Sertão is to decrease poverty and malnutrition in the semi-arid region of Brazil by helping farmers and local populations to increase their crop yields through irrigation and production technologies that are resilient to dry climates and to climate change. This will be achieved through the following specific objectives:
1. Increase the crop yields and productivity of small farmers by creating a distribution network of irrigation technologies across the sertão based on small farmers’ cooperative and associations
2. Make a productive use of the local water resources of the region (mostly earth dams)
3. Use retail financing to help farmers purchase irrigation technologies
4. Create practical training courses to build farmers’ capacity on how to use irrigation systems effectively to grow organic products
5. Developing new commercialization channels to help farmer’s access organic markets and sell their products to food manufacturers and local or regional super-market chains.
6. Strengthening a brand such as Adapta Sertão which is able to show to youth and the populations of the semi-arid region alternatives to better livelihoods.
7. To expand the Adapta Sertão network to outreach several farmers cooperatives and municipalities, including local radio stations, farmers, local banks and schools, technological providers.
These specific objectives represent the expansion strategy of Adapta Sertão.

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