sexta-feira, 17 de outubro, 2014

Fine cocoa animates producers in Bahia

After periods of great disincentive in recent decades, the Bahia cacauicultura, responsible for about 70% of the national production of almond, begins to gain new impetus from projects focused on differentiated products of superior quality. And it is through one of these projects, designed to serve as a model of environmental and social sustainability, which the businessman Guilherme Leal, Natura founder, is making its first foray into the agricultural segment.
The Fair plans have won sharper contours in 2012, with the acquisition of a property in the South of Bahia, where cocoa cultivation is concentrated in the State. Located between the municipalities of Ilhéus and Itabuna, Uruçuca, the property was abandoned, but it was cocoa trees. Now, being retrieved by Condurú Agricultural, created to manage the new business. The company began operations last February, under the baton of Executive Director Patricia Moles-who presided over, of 2010 to 2012, the Cocoa processors Industries Association (AIPC), which represents most of the processing of the raw material industries installed in Brazil.
By email, Loyal granted the Value his first interview about the project. Did it matter to clarify that there is no connection between Natura and Condurú-unless the fact that the "Natura also started small"-, and explained that the agricultural company is under the umbrella of the Institute Arapyaú, which concentrates on projects proposed by him. "Since we've been to Bahia, in 2004, we seek to connect to a network of organizations and leaders in the southern coast engaged in caring for people and the landscape of this unique place, owner of one of the greatest biodiversities of the planet," he said.
According to the businessman, the initiative made it possible to understand that the broader revitalization of the entire territory involved required the promotion of some key economic activities. "That's when we learned about the role of some productive chains present in the region (forestry, cocoa/chocolate, eco-tourism and environmental services) and we decided to start with the Condurú Agricultural, an experiment in cocoa and chocolate".
For Loyal, there is good market opportunities derived from the growth of the demand for higher quality chocolate in Brazil and in the world. He recalls that, in higher income countries, there is a growing class of consumers worried about quality, sustainability, certification of origin and production processes. And this movement, he says, is the engine for a new growth cycle of cocoa and chocolate thin chain.
Patricia Moles reinforces that Brazil is a large consumer of chocolate and currently needs to import every year significant volumes of cocoa in order to meet the demand of industries. Hence the business opportunities available to the participants of the project of Condurú-which also gains strength by the environmental appeal that has, since the cultivation of almond is not necessarily a threat to the preservation of the Atlantic forest. Most of the cocoa production in Bahia is made by the system known as "cabruca", which consists in planting in the shade of trees, and the planted forests to this end can also be transformed into a source of income for the farmer.
The purpose of innovation is not only in Condurú cultivation, but also in the management of the business, with the distribution of benefits with the employee. "We hope to be an example to be spread," says Patricia. The property of the company in the South of Bahia has about 500 hectares. To retrieve it, is an ongoing process of consolidation which will allow the planting of 1,000 trees per hectare. With this practice, coupled with the soil nutrition, it is feasible to achieve greatest productivity-of up to 1 tonne per hectare, according to the Executive. In the region, the average yield, considered low, is less than 300 kilograms per hectare. She estimates that in five years, the productivity gains sought could be achieved.
Another goal of Condurú is "explore" what's inside the farm. Not only cocoa varieties present in the property, but also other species such as wood, hog plum, jackfruit and banana, for example, in addition to different types of soil. "Knowing better is to understand the attributes [cocoa]. We are the first to make an inventory of cocoa, "he explains.
So the Condurú wants to share their experiences. It was closed a partnership with Unicamp for conducting studies on the fermentation of cocoa-important to the quality of the product and to the development of innovative techniques, but the company intends to establish links with other academic institutions, industry, craftsmen and chocolate consumers. Condurú already sells the almond with UTZ certification (which certifies sustainable practices) since last year, in very small volumes. The company does not rule out selling to large industries, since they have an interest in a top quality cocoa.
Despite the promising opportunities and the recent high international price of cocoa, Guilherme Leal remembers that there is still a lot of work ahead of us. "It's a complex chain, still in crisis, indebted, oligopolizada, with prices ' commoditized ' and you have to compete with the high productivity of new regions cacaueiras". Challenges aside, the segment's potential is enormous.
As Loyal, some studies indicate that cocoa production in the southern coast of Bahia may triple and generate 300 thousand new jobs in 20 years. "The conditions for that, in my view, are all there. With good experiences and articulation, it is possible to construct a new narrative for the cocoa and chocolate in the region ".
Valor Economico
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