28th of October, Tobacco Growers Day – The pandemic made it impossible to celebrate the usual event to commemorate the Tobacco Growers’ Day, but the International Tobacco Growers’ Association – ITGA, held an online event on Wednesday, October 28, paying homage to the tobacco farmers, jointly with several spokespersons linked to the supply chain. With its focus on the theme together we will grow more”, the homage to the tobacco farmers included voices from all continents. Tobacco farmers from Colombia, Argentina, USA, Bulgaria, Malawi, Mozambique, among others, dwelt on the importance of tobacco farming for their lives.
Antonio Abrunhosa, Chief Executive Officer of ITGA, greeted the farmers and commented on the impact from the pandemic. “We live in a globalized world and tobacco plays an important role, especially in a year engulfed by so many challenges. The pandemic has shown us that nothing is impossible. Thousands of lives and jobs were lost and tobacco proved to be more resilient than other crops, keeping the jobs and the income of our farmers and attesting, once again, to its crucial relevance for the subsistence and prosperity of our families”, Abrunhosa said.
SindiTabaco president and president of the Growing Up Right Institute Iro Schünke took part in a program based on a video deposition. He greeted the ITGA for conducting the event and the Tobacco Growers' Association of Brazil (Afubra), entity that represents the tobacco farmers in Brazil
“It’s only fair that we pay such homage to the tobacco farmers all over the world. Brazil is the second largest producer, the leading exporter for 27 years now, where the farmers are the pillar of the sector, a strong link of this supply chain. The farmers, in compliance with well applied management practices, have turned Brazil into a reference in sustainable production, supplying the international clients a product of high quality and integrity. As the son of a tobacco farmer, I would like to express my sincere and warm greetings to all the tobacco growers in the world and tell them that they should feel honored in being a part of this important supply chain that has contributed a lot towards the development of the communities where the crop is cultivated. Together, producers and companies, let us continue advocating for the defense of this important supply chain”, Schünke said in his testimony.
Another participant from Brazil was the president of Afubra, Benício Werner. Latest survey of the entity demonstrated that tobacco is cultivated in 544 municipalities and the 2019/2020 crop brought in revenue of almost R$ 6 billion to the 146,430 Brazilian tobacco growing families.
TOBACCO GROWERS DAY – In Brazil, the date was instituted by the Legislative Assemblies of Rio Grande do Sul (Law 14.208, of March/2013, put forward by state deputy Heitor Schuch); Santa Catarina (Law 16.114, of September/2013, suggested by state deputy Mauro de Nadal); and in Paraná (Law 17.729, of 2013, put forward by state deputy Anibelli Neto.
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October 2020 – Tobacco is the commercial crop that uses the least amount of pesticides, according to several surveys conducted in the past years. Even so, over the past decades, the sector was the predecessor of reverse logistics with regard to empty pesticide containers. On 23 October 2020, the tobacco sector reaches its 20 year success mark in terms of reverse logistics in the disposal of solid residues. More than 17 million pesticide containers have been collected to date.
“The numbers could lead to a questionable interpretation that the tobacco supply chain relies on intensive use of pesticides. But research works conducted over the past decade have attested exactly the opposite: tobacco is one of the commercial crops that uses the least amounts of pesticides and, at same time, one of the sectors that is most engaged in the correct destination of the triple-rinsed containers”, SindiTabaco president Iro Schünke explained.
The first collection took place in the year 2000, in the district of Rio Pardinho, interior of Santa Cruz do Sul (RS). From then till now, 411 municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina were visited by the itinerant container collection trucks that stop at approximately 1.8 thousand collection sites in the rural surroundings of the two States. The program benefits a universe of about 117 thousand tobacco farmers in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, with comfort and safety in the delivery of the triple-rinsed containers, in collection sites located near their farms.
As of 2015, the program has changed for the better, facilitating the collection of data and making the management of the itineraries easier. The records previously written by hand, now rely on an application. The data management format of the program encompasses the use of mobile devices (tablets) for entering the amount of containers delivered by the farmer. At the time of delivery, the producer’s record is updated, and the farmer receives a proof of container delivery, which contains the date and the amount of containers delivered.
"With the software, we have an even more efficient program in terms of management, once the report generation process has become easier, speedier and also makes it possible to follow the collection process in real time. Besides compliance with legislation, it was one more investment and a stride towards farmers’ health and safety and environment protection, priority objectives of the program, coordinator Carlos Sehn comments.
A pioneer, the Empty Pesticide Container Collection Program was created in the year 2000, prior to legislation focused on the theme. Conducted in itinerant form by the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco) and associate companies, with support from the Tobacco Growers' Association of Brazil (Afubra), its main goal consists in preserving the environment and preventing any improper disposal of empty pesticide packaging, thus protecting the health and safety of the tobacco farmers and their families.
Nowadays, the program covers ten distinct itineraries which comprise all the tobacco growing regions in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. In the State of Paraná, similar initiatives run by local centrals are supported by the companies associated with the SindiTabaco.
Check for the whereabouts of the program
LEGISLATION – Since 2002, the aim of the program consists in complying with the standards set forth by legislation in force. In Brazil, in 2002, Article 53, of Decree 4.074, set forth that “users of pesticides and similar products should return the empty containers and their respective lids to the stores where they were purchased ". The legislation also suggests responsibilities for the distribution channels, farmers, manufacturing industries and the government.
BRAZIL SETS AN EXAMPLE – According to data released by the National Institute for Processing Empty Packages (inpEV), 94% of the containers are recycled, and again transformed into containers for the same chemical product, or are incinerated at proper sites. In France, this reusing rate reaches approximately 75%; in Canadá and Germany, 70%, in Japan, 50%, and in the United Sates only 30%.
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October 2020 – The Best Practices Pilot Program in Education-Oriented Entrepreneurship, launched by the Growing Up Right Institute, in partnership with the municipal administration of Canguçu, in the South of Rio Grande do Sul, is now going on. The initiative consists in sharing real methodological tools, tested and approved by the pedagogical team of the Rural Professional Learning Program.
With an hour load of 40 hours in the pilot program adapted to the July – December 2020 online format, the main objective of the program is to make it possible for the participants, professionals of the educational area, to broaden their knowledge for acting with an entrepreneurial spirit in education. Sharing the pedagogical instruments and methodology that have been utilized with the young apprentices since 2016, the institute hopes to qualify professors that multiply these best practices in order to have their students engaged in entrepreneurial attitudes inside and outside the classroom.
According to the manager of the Institute, Nádia Fengler Solf, it was a contact with the municipal administration of Canguçu that gave rise to the program. “We were urged to contribute in some way with the entrepreneurship theme at work in countryside schools in the full shift implemented by the municipality. As we were already thinking of sharing our pedagogical tools with the teachers of the partner municipalities, we challenged our team to come up with the project”, she comments.
The pilot team in Canguçu, comprises teachers of the final grades of the Fundamental School, from countryside schools with a full shift or with the Growing Up Right Institute’s Learning Program. With support coming from the pedagogical team of the Municipal Secretariat of Education, Sports and Culture of Canguçu, the pilot team attracted the adhesion of 14 teachers from nine countryside schools. “We started the project in Canguçu with teachers from the 10 schools that have adhered to the Canguçu Countryside Educational Project-EDUCCAN, morning and afternoon shift. It is a very positive initiative, with the purpose to enrich the work of the teachers, providing moments of knowledge building and sharing, especially at this atypical moment of remote learning we are experiencing”, Nora Cátia da Silveira Oliveira, coordinator of the Countryside Schools in Canguçu – Pedagogical Nucleus, commented.
Conducted by social educator Adriano Emmel, in Canguçu, the program was planned to be attended in person, but due to the pandemic it was remodeled and the meetings are conducted virtually. In each learning moment, limited by thematic axes, an online meeting occurs and, later, a period for applying the experiences, which are actions to be carried out in the school where the teacher works. “The current scenario, under the influence of the pandemic, is very challenging. Approaching the theme of entrepreneurship for the purpose of education and the experience of actions urges us to find a new meaning for the moment and project possibilities for a return to a normal scenario”, Emmel commented.
According to Emmel, the development of the first axes of the program prompted the debate on the importance of self-knowledge, creativity, communication, protagonism, empathy, creation of links, among other themes. “And, mainly the manner of operationalizing these themes in the pedagogical realm, with the use of leaning objects and environments. The first results, experience returns, are quite encouraging, we ascertained that the group in the spirit of entrepreneurship in educational efforts, proposed actions and in its pedagogical practice”, he argues.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE – An initiative of the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco) and its associate companies, the Growing Up Right Institute was created on 23 April 2015, with support and adhesion of people involved with education and with the fight against child labor, especially in tobacco growing regions, in South Brazil. In five years, the Institute has already qualified 333 young rural farmers at its Rural Management and Entrepreneurship course. Currently, 141 young apprentices take part in the Rural Professional Learning Program. In 2020, the Institute also launched a special edition of the Us from Them Program – the Female Voice in the Countryside, focused on all former girl apprentices. Know more about it at www.crescerlegal.com.br
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September 2020 – Six former young female apprentices from the Growing Up Right Institutel, aged 18 – 21, took the challenge to take part in the special edition of the Us for Them – The Female Voice in the Countryside. Conducted in partnership with the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (Unisc), the program is going to address themes related to sorority, self care for women and lessons from the pandemic.
The approaches were suggested by the girls themselves seeing that they are going to dig deep into the subject at meetings with professionals from the Institute and from UNISC’s communication courses for devising the plots and recordings. “Who stays beside a woman in a moment of need? How does society envisage a woman? How did the pandemic alter every woman’s daily routine? These are some questions we intend to answer”, educator Maria da Graça Vieira complements.
According to the coordinator of Us for Them, Cristina Rehbein, this year’s innovation consists in adapting the program to the pandemic, with virtual meetings and the bulletins will be recorded through applications. “Due to the present circumstances, we started a special edition, with the voluntary participation of girls who have already taken part in the program and are used to working with the creation of scripts. It will certainly be a moment of learning for everyone of us”, she says.
“The program has been consolidated, both in the generation of a relevant content on the basis of a joint reflection by the girls, as well as with the partnership with the Unisc and with the entities that circulate the bulletins. But in this atypical year some alterations to it were necessary”, Nádia Fengler Solf, manager of the Growing Up Right Institute, explains.
Just like in other editions, the material that is produced will be used in radio programs aired by the Institute’s partner entities. One of the coming novelties of the program consists in making the content available in new digital platforms.
Listen to the bulletins produced in the previous editions
August 2020 – The evolution of conservation practices in tobacco farming, at each new crop year, attests to the concern of the supply chain about soil conservation. Survey conducted by the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco) shows that 76% of the tobacco farmers use systems like direct planting and minimum tillage. In 2010, it was the case of 34% of the farmers.
CULTIVATION SYSTEMS (%)
Conventional Cultivation Minimum Tillage / Direct Planting
Farmers adopting minimum tillage disturb the soil as minimal as possible, partially protecting its surface with residues from the previous crop or with biomass resulting from cover crops, with the aim to reduce erosion risks.
On the other hand, mulch-based cropping is the most efficient cultivation system in terms of soil protection. It consists in minimizing soil disturbance, preserving the mulch from the cover crop on the surface.
Viewed as a fundamental sustainability pillar by the tobacco industry, the use of conservation practices has been rising year after year, as a result of the efforts by field staffs of the tobacco companies associated with the SindiTabaco. “Technical guidance has had an invaluable importance in the spread of these new technologies and a permanent ally in making these statistical figures soar. The expectation is for more farmers to adopt these good agricultural practices, not only beneficial to soil and the environment, but to the farmers themselves, as labor needs equally drop”, SindiTabaco president Iro Schünke comments.
According to the entity’s technical advisor, agronomic engineer Darci José da Silva, over the past years, conventional soil preparation and management have gradually been left aside. These conventional practices include plowing, disking, excessive cultivations and hoeing. He explains that one of the factors that explain the significant strides made by conservation practices has been the evolution of cover crops, that derive from the bigger diversification of the species utilized.
“Currently, the most utilized species, besides oats, common vetch and mucuna, include millet, brachiaria, crotalaria and forage turnip. These crops, characterized by the production of abundant biomass, also possess a robust root system, and they have a direct influence on the restructuring process of the soil profile and upon the creation of a more favorable environment toward the proliferation of micro-organisms that are necessary for the benefic action of their weathering process. From that time on, sustainable cultivation systems like direct planting in the mulch or minimum tillage have been becoming more popular among farm extension workers and farmers, who have started spreading them”, Silva explains.
Reasons for adhering to conservation practices
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