Ecological Transition Plan to be presented by president Lula by September
Proposals include elaboration of common agenda to incorporate low-carbon techniques in the National Irrigation Policy — Foto: Adi Leite/Valor
Sustainable agriculture is one of the seven sectors included in the Ecological Transition Plan, which is being drafted in Brasilia and is expected to be launched by president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by September. Valor has learned that at least 12 proposals for the sector are being discussed by a group assisting the government in preparing the program.
Among the priority actions are measures such as increasing the rural credit limit for those who have rural insurance, the implementation of an environmental label for food products, and the creating of a regulatory framework for the production and use of bio-inputs.
The agribusiness proposals evaluated in the plan include actions for on-the-job training, economic incentives, good production practices, and fight against deforestation. Some are already being implemented, such as the “merger” of the Harvest Plan with the ABC+ Plan, now renamed RenovAgro, with lines of support for low-carbon agriculture. This innovation was announced at the launch of credit lines for corporate agriculture in June this year.
In the list of actions for economic incentives, the government support group evaluates the provision of loans for the conversion of degraded pastures. It is suggested that financing should be provided in conjunction with pasture restoration and management measures. Another suggestion is to increase the rural credit limit of agricultural costing with controlled funds for farms that have a rural insurance policy in force.
These issues have been part of the discussions of Agriculture minister, Carlos Fávaro. One of the priorities is to seek international funds, in partnerships with countries such as Japan and Saudi Arabia, to finance the conversion of degraded pastures. The ministry is also in talks with trading companies and multinationals in the same field.
The support group for the elaboration of the plan is discussing the expansion of the scope of the National Policy for Payment for Environmental Services and the requalification of agents who provide technical assistance and rural extension. The intention is to improve services to sectors that will be boosted by the transition to a low-carbon economy. The use of funds from the Constitutional Funds to support technical training is also being considered, with the possibility of directing investments to institutions such as the National Rural Learning Service (Senar).
One of the proposals suggests the creation of an environmental label for food products. The idea is in the medium term to create educational strategies for children to consume these “labeled” foods and indicators of the environmental impact of the products.
In the list of good agricultural practices, the group’s proposal includes the elaboration of a common agenda to incorporate low-carbon techniques in the context of the implementation of the National Irrigation Policy. Another regulatory framework called for is the creation of standards for the production of on-farm bio-inputs.
There are also plans to develop agricultural production in urban areas in partnership with the country’s main metropolises. The intention is to promote the cultivation of organic food, with facilitated logistics, and the creation of “green jobs.”
Another proposal under discussion concerns the taxes paid by producers. The proposal is to transfer to the municipalities the collection and management of the Rural Territorial Tax (ITR) and the federal tax Cide related to land use.
The proposals also aim to reduce deforestation related to food production. The proposal is to establish a traceability system for cattle as a way to prevent the trading of animals from deforested areas. Similar measures, such as the protocol recently announced by the Brazilian Federation of Banks (Febraban), have been criticized by members of the productive sector.
The package of measures to make the economy greener is being hailed by Finance minister Fernando Haddad as one of the potential hallmarks of president Lula’s third term. As Valor revealed this week, the Ecological Transition Plan will be based on six main axes (sustainable finance, technological densification of the productive sector, bioeconomy, energy transition, circular economy, and new infrastructure and public services for climate adaptation) and could include more than a hundred actions in total.
Sources following the discussions say that the proposals for agribusiness are in line with what the government wants to announce, but do not guarantee that they will be in the final document.
*Por Raphael Walendorff — Brasília
Source: Valor International