“Organic and agroecological certification can boost sales and serve the market for agroforestry products, which is growing exponentially.”
Martin Ewert is a permaculturist, environmental manager, master and Ph.D in agroecosystems, and specialist in agroforestry markets at The Nature Conservancy.
Ewert works with design and management of environmental projects, regenerative agriculture, nature conservation, sustainable entrepreneurship, environmental services, governance and strategic planning.
Agroforestry systems are based on the intelligence of nature, as they generate wealth in a diversified, cyclical and continuous way. Profits are not just financial, but also ecological, social, political and cultural.
Through agroforestry systems, we can think of new ways of doing agriculture ethically, overcoming poverty in the countryside, increasing income with products from biodiversity and promoting healthy eating.
Those systems can also combat climate change, remove carbon from the atmosphere, are efficient producers of water, providers of a soil rich in nutrients and fundamental in maintaining the ecosystem services essential for life on the planet.
It is worth remembering that each agroforestry model is unique and depends on several factors for its design. When designing a project, among the main objectives, we must consider forest restoration, recovery of degraded areas, improving the quality of life of female farmers, caring for people, caring for the land, with a special focus on productive efficiency to serve the market and fair trading.
I usually say that there are numerous ecological gains when implementing an agroforestry system, which generally only make sense for farmers when productive and financial return are achieved. To ensure the financial return on investment, dedication is needed at the time of planning.
Through planning it is possible to create a highly profitable agroforestry business. Therefore, financial analysis is one of the main tools that will enhance an efficient project in the ecological and financial scope of agroforestry systems. Through financial analysis, it is possible to create a long-term production panorama of the system, observe the different stages of forest succession, costs and revenues, cash flow, labor demand and strategies necessary for management and decision making in farming, harvesting, processing and marketing.
It is evident that with proper planning, agroforestry systems have the possibility of generating income throughout the year through the production and commercialization of various products. It is worth considering that the processing of raw materials is a decisive factor in adding value to products and accessing specific market niches.
Organic and agroecological certification can boost sales and serve the market for agroforestry products, which is growing exponentially. This market must also accompany the sale of carbon credits and payment for environmental services. From this perspective, a successful path is the autonomy of female farmers so that they can choose the best way to market their products.
Finally, based on the development of scientific research, it is necessary to promote new public policies and strengthen existing ones. In the case of Brazil, there are examples such as the National School Feeding Plan (PNAE) and the Food Acquisition Program (PAA), which are currently an important instrument to fight hunger. Also, with the advancement of knowledge, access to rural credit, such as the forestry Pronaf, should be expanded to small family farmers, generally favoring agroforestry businesses throughout Brazil.