On January 25, 2019, a mining dam in Feijão Creek, in the city of Brumadinho, Minas Gerais state, broke, causing great social and economic losses in the region. Currently, Brumadinho and surrounding areas are responsible for much of the vegetable and citrus fruit production that is supplied to the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, the state’s capital.
After the dam broke, the FAEMG-SENAR Minas Gerais System, together with SENAR Central Management, launched the SuperAção [Overcome] Brumadinho Project, to help the resumption and strengthening of agricultural activities in Brumadinho, providing Technical and Managerial Assistance to rural producers who were directly or indirectly impacted by the disaster.
A total of 480 rural families were assisted, for a period of 24 months, free of charge, in seven productive activities (horticulture, fruit farming, poultry farming, fish farming, dairy cattle farming, beef farming, and dairy goat farming), where the productive activity of vegetable production was responsible for more than 50% of the project’s assistance.
More than 7.8 thousand field visits were carried out with significant results in terms of increased production and income for the producers.
In horticulture, a 33% increase in the production (in kilograms of vegetables) was seen, as well as a 78% increase in the gross margin per unit. This result means larger regional production and a higher income for the producers.
In the fruit farming chain, there was an 11% increase in fruit production and a 26% increase in gross income. In dairy farming, an improvement was noticed in the unit gross margin corresponding to a 78% increase in the produced liter of milk’s worth. This data shows an improvement in the quality of life of the producers through income increase.
In the dairy goat farming activity, we saw an increase of 45% of liters per day and an increase of 19% in the gross income derived from milk. This data means a greater financial gain for the producers, mainly due to increased production and, consequently greater availability of products for marketing.
Farmers in the Brumadinho region were affected not only by the dam’s collapse but also by the heavy rainfall that occurred in 2021 when many farmers had substantial losses in production.
The SuperAção Brumadinho Project was significant for resuming production and raising the hope of farmers, who even after all the hardships could stay on their land producing and yielding income through farming. The project has accomplished great and relevant results on behalf of the producers so that they could overcome, with SENAR’s technical support, all the hardships they faced.
*Luana Frossard Gomes de Aguiar is the Project Operationalization Coordinator at Brazil’s National Rural Learning Service (SENAR)