Pará, a state in the north of Brazil, has been the largest cocoa producer in the country for two years. According to the most recent survey by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the region produces more than 144,200 tons of cocoa in 149.7 hectares.
The statistics show the cocoa sector’s importance for Brazilian agribusiness, which also means opportunities for the state’s sustainable development. SENAR’s technical assistance—a wide national training network—helps to support farmers across the country. In the case of cocoa crops, the focus is on directing investments to improve productivity and increase the producers’ income.
“Before the training, the producers had difficulties managing the business’s financial part. This includes evaluating financial life, value for money ratio, and actions required in the farm,” says Dácio Carvalho, Manager of the FAEPA/SENAR System’s Technical and Managerial Assistance.
Dácio represents a specific initiative of technical and managerial assistance aimed at cocoa producers in the region. Today, the work has reached more than 1,5 thousand producers in several cities. “The farmers report that they needed support to carry on in their activities and minimize losses due to pests and diseases.”
Training initiatives in the cocoa sector also include the processing phase. The project Chocolate-Industry School was created in the region to add value to cocoa cultivation. The goal is to foster investment in quality beans to produce fine chocolates.
“The project shares knowledge and offers rural producers the chance to become entrepreneurs by producing handmade chocolates in bean-to-bar production,” says Goreti Gomes, President of the Sectoral Chamber of the Cocoa Production Chain and Coordinator of special projects for the FAEPA/SENAR System.
The school focuses on stimulating the improvement of cocoa in Pará state, with specialty products and more income generation. The initiative is already implemented in four cities in the state and plans to expand to one more city. A mobile unit serves other regions.