In the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina the non-governmental organisation CEPAGRO (Centro de Estudos e Promoção da Agricultura de Grupo, Center for Study and Promotion of Group Agriculture) provides technical support and training for smallholder farmers who are willing to switch to organic food production. With this support, former tobacco farmers have started growing a variety of organic crops such as beans, potatoes, carrots, onions, grapes and producing dairy products. The farmers are encouraged to create added value for their products by producing for example grape juice, vegetable preseves or organic jams.
CEPAGRO helps connect farmers with cooperatives and facilitates access to guaranteed market spaces by integrating them into the Rede Ecovida de Agroecologia, a certification and commercialisation network for organic products.
Furthermore, CEPAGRO is involved in dialogue with various public bodies and civil society, thus aiming to improve and shape public policies in the interest of farming families. It is also involved in the State Committee for Alternatives to Tobacco Growing (Comitê Estadual de Alternativas para a Cultura do Tabaco).
More about crop diversification, farmers’ experiences with alternatives to tobacco cultivation and organic farming, CEPAGRO and Rede Ecovida can be watched in the video: ‘Alternatives to tobacco cultivation Brazil’.