Since 2009, the Brazilian non-governmental organization CIDADES SEM FOME (CITIES WITHOUT HUNGER) helps smallholder farmers in the town of Agudo to transition from tobacco monoculture to a diversified organic agriculture.
Agudo is located in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state. Since the 1980s, the local farmers relied on tobacco growing. Due to the financial dependency on tobacco companies the producers had no prospect of autonomous growth. Additionally, tobacco cultivation caused health and ecological harms.
Currently, CIDADES SEM FOME trains three family farms in organic farming and supports them in establishing marketing channels in the region. Agricultural equipment is used collectively. The growing of the staple food cassava ensures the farmers a stable basic income throughout the seasons: The harvest is stored in two cooling chambers installed by CIDADES SEM FOME. Besides cassava, the farmers grow vegetables and fruit, keep pigs and chickens and set up fishponds.
Thus, the smallholders generate their own income and attain financial independence from the tobacco industry. They use their new financial power to expand their organic farms. For example, the smallholder farmer Francisco des Assis Neto was able to build a new house, where he now receives guests interested in the sustainable transformation of agriculture in Agudo.
In addition to the current participants, CIDADES SEM FOME plans to involve at least ten more farmers from the region. The idea is to deposit parts of the profits into a fund, and thus to incorporate more farms into the project without the need for additional donations. If successful, the project can become self-financed.
The German Förderverein STÄDTE OHNE HUNGER Deutschland e. V. supports CIDADES SEM FOME in the implementation. You can also support this project for smallholder farmers here.