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Union of efforts marks expansion of the Cerrado das Águas Consortium

Image credit: CCA Archive

In Serra do Salitre, rural producers, the coffee production chain, public authorities, and several local actors are aligned for climate change resilience.

In June 2021, the Cerrado das Águas Consortium (CCA), a collaborative platform that aggregates efforts between companies, government, and civil society for environmental preservation and conservation for climate change resilience, took a major step towards taking its goal forward by promoting the expansion of its methodology to Serra do Salitre.

The platform that brings together various members of the production chain so that, together, they act with this objective of restoring watersheds, started the application of the methodology in the Rio Grande basin in that municipality, and celebrates the first months of the involvement of farmers, cooperatives of coffee growers and public authorities.

For the mayor of Serra do Salitre, Paulo Giovani Silveira de Melo (Joca), the partnership is seen as complementary to the municipal effort to preserve the environment. “The arrival of the Cerrado das Águas Consortium and the partnership signed with the municipality of Serra do Salitre is seen as extremely positive. The agenda for the preservation of springs and water sources, recovery of Permanent Preservation Areas, and soil management activities are activities present in our Government Plan, and the municipality was seeking alternatives to execute them. This partnership was the key point for the greatest number of properties to be covered. I am sure that the population of Serralitrense will be the biggest beneficiary. The Municipal Administration will spare no efforts so that this partnership is successful and lasting, “says the mayor.

The engagement of the municipal government made it a key partner, a name given by the BWC to those who formally engage in counterparts to leverage the implementation of the PIPC methodology strategies. At the live launch of the methodology, the Municipal Secretary for the Environment, Augusto Peres, also stated the importance of the initiative for Serra do Salitre.

“The issue of preserving springs, watercourses, and preservation areas, is a focus that the municipality has been trying to work on for a long time, I believe that without the CCA, we would not be able to achieve great proportions. We are planning to monitor over 150 rural properties. The city hall is very pleased with the initiative and we understand that, although the producer’s legal obligation already exists with the preservation areas, springs, and permanent preservation areas, it is a social and environmental measure that directly affects the municipality’s population. The Rio Grande basin, which is the main source of supply for the city, has great tourism potential, so indirectly, the entire population will benefit, “says the secretary.

Optimistic and engaged producers

Through the Investment Programme in the Conscientious Producer (PIPC, sigla em português), the CCA offers alternatives and strategies for the preservation of natural resources and, consequently, combating the effects of climate change. The risk analysis and strategies are described in the PIP – Individual Property Plan – whose form of implementing the strategies proposed jointly within the watershed is discussed individually with each producer.

The PIPC is a programme developed by the CCA whose main characteristic is the network of engagement, from the producer who lives and works in the basin, throughout the coffee production chain, to the coffee buyer anywhere in the world, including local actors such as the public prosecutor, associations and public authorities.

After the construction of the methodology, which has collected positive results in the pilot project in the Feio stream basin in Patrocínio, the producers from Serralitrenses have shown themselves to be optimistic and engaged as to how to work together.

The producer Eduardo Lana approves the initiative and reveals that he has been waiting for years for something like this to take part and contribute to the collective good. “I’ve always tried to get involved in these environmental issues. I usually say that my second business is agriculture because the first is planting trees. In the basin of the córrego Grande, there are a lot of springs and I have been concerned about them for a long time. We have several problems with river water and fire, and it’s difficult to do it alone. I’m already helping to spread the word about the initiative to other producers. My property will always be open to whatever is needed”, emphasizes Lana.

The producer Vera Lúcia Pazoto believes that the initiatives will be beneficial, strengthening the producers in the actions of preservation and care of the environment. “I have already received the first visits and I found it interesting, both because of the methodology presented and the environment for discussions of environmental issues, so I believe that any way of encouraging the protection of the soil and natural ecosystems benefits the entire community, especially the maintenance of the water supply by the springs, so, from my point of view, I am very pleased to be part of a team that is concerned about the environment”, she declares.

About the Cerrado das Águas Consortium

Created in 2015, in Patrocínio – MG, the Cerrado das Águas Consortium aims to raise awareness among producers in the region about the importance of their environmental assets through diagnosis and investment in them, ensuring their long-term preservation.

The initiative has the following companies as associate members: Nescafé, Expocaccer, Nespresso, Lavazza, Cooxupé, CofCo, Volcafé, Stockler, in addition to supporting institutions such as the Cerrado Coffee Growers Federation, CerVivo, Imaflora, and IEB – International Education Institute of Brazil.

In 2019, the pilot project received US$400,000 from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) to implement the programme that will initially promote the investment and protection of the natural ecosystems found in more than 100 properties along the Feio watershed. The amount is the largest subsidy ever awarded by CEPF, which has demanding donors such as the French Development Agency (AFD), European Union, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Government of Japan, and World Bank

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