04.09.2018

At the end of 2015, SOF began to implement one of the public policies it had contributed to build: Technical Assistance and Rural Extension, or ATER, for women based on agroecology. The activities were carried out with 240 women family farmers, quilombolas, indigenous and artisanal fishers – the caiçaras – from the Ribeira Valley, in São Paulo. The largest continuous area of Atlantic Forest lies in this region. It is a biome of great biological diversity in a mountainous region and it is full of water courses. This biodiversity has been maintained and expanded thanks to the traditional communities of quilombolas, natives and caiçaras that live there. However, government environmental conservation policies often go against these communities.


Is the extension service still working there?
This public ATER was developed up until March 2017. Institutional changes in the country following the impeachment of President Dilma Roussef resulted in no new calls from ATER, in particular those addressing women. But SOF's work in the Ribeira Valley continued through a training programme that co-ordinates the personal and collective autonomy of women, agroecological practices and the social development of markets. It has been very important to build a market that mobilises workers and city workers to directly purchase products from farmers in the Ribeira Valley. Farmers began to count on a monthly income which, although small, has already allowed them to make investments such as buying a cell phone, improving their communication with buyers, and improving their homes, such as placing flooring on the soil or buying an electric shower. In the city, workers from public universities and residents at the outskirts of Taboão da Serra were able to eat organic products at a price compatible with their income. Relations of trust between buyers and producers were strengthened, for example, people from consumption groups participated in joint efforts to install biodigester pits.