Grains crushers expand Brazil farmer training from soy to other crops

FILE PHOTO: Soybean is unloaded from a truck at the Alvorada agricultural industry in the city of Primavera do Leste
FILE PHOTO: Soybean is unloaded from a truck at the Alvorada agricultural industry in the city of Primavera do Leste in the central Brazilian state of Mato Grosso February 6, 2013. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

September 2, 2021

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Major grains crushers in Brazil began offering farmer training on Thursday for growers of crops other than soy, including wheat, corn and sugarcane, oilseed crushing group Abiove said.

The “Soy Plus” program renamed “Agro Plus” offers farmers guidance on best practices including waste management, environmental compliance and employee safety, according to Abiove, which includes major grains traders ADM, LDC, Bunge, Cargill, Amaggi and Cofco.

Bernardo Pires, Abiove’s sustainability manager, said the expanded training to more producers, including cattle ranchers, was a response to demand from Brazil’s booming farm belt. In its original format, the program helped soybean farmers boost profits by improving farm management, Pires said.

“Due to these good results, it was natural to expand to other supply chains,” Pires said.

The program was jointly created in 2011 by Abiove and Mato Grosso state’s soy and corn farmer group Aprosoja. In 10 years, it has trained more than 8,000 soy growers on 3,200 farms.

Pires said Abiove wants to triple the number of farmers trained within 3 to 5 years as it revamps the program.

Over 10 years, the program has cost some 35 million reais ($6.80 million), Abiove said. As more producers become eligible, Abiove will seek out new partners to help shoulder the cost.

($1 = 5.1465 reais)

(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Sandra Maler)