The Livelihoods-Caruanas project in Rio de Janeiro is still recent, but we can already observe a few key learnings, given the dynamics of the project:

A well-structured offer addressed to smallholder farmers: the farmers of Tinguá are equipped with an agroecology kit developed by SEBRAE, one of the key partners of the project. This kit includes an equipment to be installed by the farmer himself, a 30-month-training session for organic agriculture and the launch of a farmers’ association to facilitate the commercialization process. The Livelihoods-Caruanas project therefore addresses 3 key issues: access to a fruitful investment, technical improvement and market access.

A strong coalition of economic, social and environmental interests between Bonafont-Danone, a private company whose vital priority is to secure the quality of its bottling water, smallholder farmers who want to increase their revenues and the population of the city of Rio who is in demand of quality and organic fruit and vegetables. The strength of the Livelihoods-Caruanas project resides in its structure and its ability to join the interests of both the urban and rural areas as well as the public, private and community’s interests. Each stakeholder benefits from the project’s achievements.

An innovative public – private partnership between the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming (L3F) created by major private companies, Danone, leading food company, SEBRAE a governmental agency that supports entrepreneurship for farmers and finances the project’s scale-up. SEBRAE has designed an agroecology kit, accessible to the farmers and finances part of the technical assistance on the field. Livelihoods pre-finances the costs of the project. Plus, the farmers are contractually committed to invest a small part of their revenues in a farmers’ fund – a solidarity mechanism put in place to commercialize the farmers’ products and finance the agroecology kits for new beneficiaries.

An innovative investment model: Livelihoods Funds take the risk to pre-finance the project and will be remunerated by Danone-Bonafont according to the number of farmers who have joined the organic farming transition programme as well as the total number of hectares preserved in the watershed of Tinguá. This payment for environmental services has been defined under contractual commitment between the stakeholders.

Photos: Louis Perrin/ Livelihoods Funds.

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