Supporting agricultural cooperatives with new technologies - 02/2018

During February 19-20, USAID/Brazil implementing partners local NGO ECAM and Brazilian company Natura visited the headquarters of the an agricultural cooperative (CAMTA), in Tomé-Açú, Pará state, which is considered one of the most successful agricultural cooperatives in the Amazon region, due to its diversity of products, high productivity and strong financial performance.

The purpose of this visit was to assess the potential of technological tools such as Open Data Kit (ODK) and Google Earth to contribute to CAMTA’s diverse operations. Accompanied by CAMTA’s agricultural technicians and collaborating scientists, ECAM and Natura toured some of the cooperative’s agricultural plantations, which consist of perennials in various stages and mixtures, and are composed primarily of fruit crops, some timber trees, black pepper and oil palm.

They visited the Dendê SAF (Oil Palm Agroforestry Systems) project, supported by USAID/Brazil, and CAMTA’s technician Jailson commented that the proposed technologies such as ODK and Google Earth would greatly assist in monitoring the project’s research activities. The visitors then inspected the factories dedicated to processing fruit pulp and black pepper, where they commented that ODK would be especially useful in tracking in-flows of raw material and outflows of final products, as currently done by other activities implemented by ECAM.

ECAM explained to the local technical staff of CAMTA how the ODK tool functions and its potential for increasing the efficiency of data collection, as well as briefly presented the tools Google Earth and YouTube, and the staff showed interest in receiving training in all three tools.

ECAM and Natura will organize a 5-day follow-up training course in ODK and Google Earth during the month of April at CAMTA’s headquarters.

CAMTA partners with the cosmetics firm Natura in providing various products – including cupuaçu, andiroba and maracujá – that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental sustainability. In addition to its role as a commercial partner, Natura collaborates with CAMTA on a research project supported by USAID/Brazil that investigates the viability of incorporating palm oil – known in Brazil as “dendê” – into highly diversified agroforestry systems. Natura also supports the current project coordinated by ECAM, New Technologies and Traditional Communities.