Brazilian rural entrepreneurs are not afraid of innovation. Whilst some people may think that new ideas must come with expensive gadgets, sometimes the solutions to farm issues are quite simple. In Brazil, they come with proper training, creativity, and shared knowledge. This was the perfect mix to change the reality of some families in central Brazil.
In the Canudos community, in Palmeiras de Goiás, the rural entrepreneur Leoneide Batista produces jams with local fruits such as cagaita, tamarind, tangerine, and more. To increase the family income, she chooses to diversify the production constantly. This goal made her reach for Brazil’s National Rural Learning Service (SENAR) for proper training.
“My dream was to have a passion fruit plantation because it is a fruit from which we can extract everything. I can use its pulp for jams and its peel to make pectin and flour. It is a fruit with many possibilities,” she highlights.
Leoneide’s dream, however, seemed distant. Her family could not invest in eucalyptus cuttings, a material she thought was necessary to give structure to the passion fruit trees and make them produce more fruits. The technical assistance made her realize that there are more economic and sustainable alternatives to increase her production, such as using bamboo.
“Generally, farmers use wooden poles, including eucalyptus. This material is expensive, but bamboo is a good substitute, with almost zero cost,” explains Sidarta Oliveira, field technician in horticulture at SENAR Goiás. He adds that the bamboo structure can last up to three years.
Innovation and transformation
Leoneide was not the only farmer to transform her production in the region. Sebastiana Santos and Cleomar de Oliveira, a couple also from Palmeiras de Goiás, have also been looking for a new way to increase their income thanks to bamboo in the passion fruit plantation. While Cleomar works as an assistant in grain farming, Sebastiana works as a housekeeper.
They live on a farm whose owner ceded a part of the property for them to plant fruits, but they could not make significant investments. In fact, they needed to expand their income. “The technical assistant showed us that bamboo would lead to a great result in the area we had. With his orientation, we built the structure and we planted 200 seedlings. Now, we harvest about 80 kilos a week to sell in nearby cities,” explains Sebastiana. “The money is enough to cover our household expenses, and we even have some savings to expand the plantation.”