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Introduction
Both the Caatinga and the Cerrado shelter amazing landscapes, vast variety of flora, fauna, water resources, and great social and cultural diversity. Despite the numerous challenges faced, their people have interacted with difficulties in an increasingly proactive manner. This can be backed by figures and demonstrated by the growth and sustainability of enterprises from these biomes operating in domestic and foreign markets, getting rid of the stigma of lack of liaison and poverty to become healthy communities, having as a market differential a respectful relationship with nature and traditional knowledge.
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Caatinga Cerrado – Eco-Productive Communities

The Initiative

The Caatinga Cerrado – Eco-Productive Communities Initiative is a space for liaison among family farming networks and enterprises for the promotion and marketing of sociobiodiversity products from the Caatinga and Cerrado biomes. It aims to increase access to domestic and international markets by enterprises selling sociobiodiversity products originating in these biomes.

Background

The initiative originated from the challenge of qualifying family farming enterprises to participate in national and international trade fairs. In 2006, after a seminar held in Fortaleza for this purpose, a set of 31 associations and cooperatives, along with their networks and government and non-government support, faced the challenge of joint participation at ExpoSustentat Latin America (fair for sustainable products and services), to represent the wealth and diversity of the Caatinga and Cerrado in the Northeast & Cerrado Stand.

In 2007, recognizing that fairs play an important role in trade promotion and in the improvement of family farming products, the second edition of the Northeast & Cerrado Stand was held, this time with the attendance of 150 enterprises represented by 15 networks and partnerships which, directly and indirectly, benefited 17,000 families in 14 Brazilian states.

In 2008, representatives of institutions promoting and supporting the Northeast & Cerrado Stand, together with 20 networks and partnerships of the Caatinga and Cerrado biomes, held a workshop on participatory planning to debate and establish agreements on the future of the process. On that meeting, wealthy in ideas and debates, the decision emerged that a more comprehensive and continuous initiative would be required and that participation in fairs would be part of the market access strategy and not an end in itself. So, on May 9th, participating organizations established the Caatinga Cerrado – Eco-Productive Communities Initiative.

Goals and lines of action

In order to accomplish its goals, the Caatinga Cerrado Initiative concentrates on four major pillars:

  • coordination, to increase enterprises’ access to services, partnerships and resources that strengthen the efforts of commercialization of sociobiodiversity products;
  • communication, through communication mechanisms, information management and marketing, so as to promote sociobiodiversity products in different markets;
  • capacity building, to strengthen and improve enterprises’ capacities to market sociobiodiversity products; and
  • access to markets, through development and implementation of marketing strategies that increase market access for enterprises and networks.

The Caatinga Cerrado Initiative seeks to harness and encourage the accumulation of experiences and references by the networks, partnerships and enterprises around eco-productive practices, i.e., the Initiative does not intend to replace the work of existing organizations, but rather, to bridge gaps and foster commercialization of products in niche markets, so as to add value and generate income through traditional knowledge, respect for the environment and social inclusion.

Universe of action

Currently, the Caatinga Cerrado Initiative operates in a universe of over 20,000 families, represented by approximately 200 enterprises and 20 networks in 14 Brazilian states, and it has partners and supporters in the Brazilian Federal Government, German Cooperation and Non-Governmental Organizations.


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