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Scientific paper


PROVE: degrowing the use of natural resources for food production

João Luís Homem de Carvalho

Entry type:
Scientific paper

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Degrowth Conference Venice 2012


From the text: According to IBGE (2010), from 2000 to 2010, over 400,000 small farms went bankrupt, pushing about 2 million people away from rural zones toward big cities, and causing serious social problems. One of the reasons for this exodus is the agribusiness production model, based on “technological packets” and on the production of commodities for export. It uses genetic modified organisms, causes deforestation of great areas and the contamination of soil and water with chemical fertilizers and defensives, and also contributes for greenhouse gases emissions. This production model works in a technological matrix that excludes small farmers.
For every US$100 that a consumer pays for a processed agricultural product, $20 go to vendor, $30 to the person trading the goods, and $45 to the processor. The small producer earns only $5. Carvalho (2002)
It is possible to invert this situation, by giving opportunities to the rural poorest to produce agroecological products and aggregate value to their production, obtaining enough income to live with dignity in rural areas. It is possible to verticalize the exceeding production with small family agroindustries of approximately 37m2. This proposal was already implemented in many places in Brazil, by the “Verticalization of Family Production Program – PROVE. This program is designed to promote small agricultural production, processing and trade. It involves many urban, periurban and rural agricultural systems, including vegetable-gardening, fruit-growing and livestock systems. Intervention happens at the individual and/or collective level, especially aimed at the lower income groups. The PROVE started in 1995. From 1995 to 2010, about 500 agroindustry facilities were built in Brazil. In this period, the monthly per capita family income of those involved in the program rose from US$25 to US$100 Carvalho (1998). On average, each project generates jobs for six people, usually members of the same family. The funds disbursed by the public and private sector (US$ 200) for each job generated by PROVE are strictly related to expenses for the existing capacity, i.e. wages, cars, fuel, etc., since all the remaining costs are borne by the producers themselves.

Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.

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