Brazil’s national Rural Learning Service (SENAR) develops and runs an extensive training program for Brazilian farmers focused on consistently improving and maintaining the highest standards of food quality. It embodies and extends environmentally friendly and low-carbon agricultural practices while considering the socio-economic development needs of rural areas.
SENAR is a private entity linked to CNA and managed by federal government representatives, agricultural workers, and employers. Since its inception in 1991, the institution has trained more than 100 million rural producers and workers. It counts on 7,000 professionals to conduct vocational courses and provide technical assistance across all 26 states of Brazil, serving thousands of farmers, elevating their professionalization, and improving their quality of life.
A broad portfolio of free-of-charge training is updated annually to reflect farmers’ evolving needs and contribute to strengthening the rural economy. Educational handbooks cover more than 300 rural skills – from hand milking to precision crop management.
Technical and managerial assistance (ATeG)
The close relationship with the daily routine in the countryside allowed SENAR to develop its own Technical and Managerial Assistance (ATeG) methodology. Combining vocational training, handbooks, and technological advice with customized recommendations, the ATeG methodology promotes the economic, social, and ecological development of the assisted farmers. Therefore, it has allowed them to increase production with a lower impact on natural resources.
ATeG methodology is composed of five steps:
- Tailor-made productive diagnosis
- Strategic planning
- Technological suitability
- Supplementary vocational training
- Systematic evaluation of outcomes
In addition to the main administration, 26 regional institutes comprise the institutional network for Technical and Managerial Assistance. The team is composed of nearly 4,500 on-the-field technicians and 300 supervisors.
Based in the successful development of the world’s largest tropical agriculture, Brazil’s national rural learning service offers an international portfolio for its partners around the world.
In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SENAR’s teaching model provides training for technical, managerial, and professional development. One of the main principles of the international cooperation services is to consider the sociocultural characteristics of each assisted producer around the world. So, all projects are adaptable to different biomes, landscapes, and rural communities.
Learning effective sustainable practices
Low-carbon farming practices and environmental preservation are the pillars of the ABC Cerrado Project, a joint initiative developed by the National Rural Learning Service (Senar) with the Ministry of Agriculture and Supply (MAPA) and Brazil’s Agriculture Research Center (Embrapa).
Through training courses and technical management, Brazilian farmers were introduced to the four steps of Brazil’s Low-Carbon Agriculture (ABC) Plan: recover degraded pastures; integrate crop-livestock-forestry; forest-planting technology; and no-till planting. The technique was adapted to the preservation of the Cerrado biome.
The results showed a significant improvement in the environmental performance of the farms, reflecting the producers’ efforts to adopt low-carbon technologies recommended in the Technical Training and Technical and Management Assistance (ATeG).
Between 2013 and 2019, 7,800 farmers and 200 field technicians were trained, 1,957 properties received technical assistance, and 166 awareness-raising seminars were held. As a continuation of the ABC Cerrado, Senar has made seven free distance learning courses available for farmers.
Young leaders in agribusiness
Identifying and developing young people’s leadership potential and spreading the culture of entrepreneurial leadership are the major challenges of the CNA Youth program. Aimed at young Brazilian farmers, aged between 22 and 30 years, the program has already recorded the participation of almost 5,000 people from all Brazilian states.
Through mentoring and training conducted by the National Rural Learning Service (Senar), the initiative aims to promote entrepreneurial leadership among young people and challenge them to transform realities in the agricultural sector. The participants have the opportunity to engage in activities and discussions of great relevance to the sector and become part of a broad network of young farmers, the CNA Youth Network.
Over the past seven years, the Young CNA, which started with a single national phase, is now a well-structured program with state and national phases that take place every two years.
Women entrepreneurial leadership
Women are the protagonists of big changes in Brazilian agriculture. To inspire more farmers to be part of this process and increase female leadership in rural enterprises, National Rural Learning Service (Senar) created the Women in Agriculture Programme.
Meetings, dynamics, and other activities are designed to develop entrepreneurship and business transformation skills and contribute to the individual potential of each participant.
The training program offers forty-hour training throughout Brazil. With focus and dedication, they overcome challenges to take advantage of opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Technology associated with environmental preservation
With the advance in technologies, precision agriculture goes beyond farm equipment, with assorted tools for use across almost all agriculture sub-sectors. To help farmers to better evaluate and monitor the conditions of agronomic activities, National Rural Learning Service (Senar) launched the Precision Agriculture Programme.
The initiative is based on a farm management system that uses data to improve field productivity associated with environmental preservation. With GPS-directed equipment, farmers can generate detailed maps of the field with a vast amount of information to make informed decisions.
The program consists of training instructors in a partnership with Embrapa, universities, and companies, and is currently offering courses to agricultural producers and rural workers. Since 2012, assisted farmers to learn to best tailor precision agricultural technologies to their needs, optimizing the use of inputs, and establishing a culture of continuous innovation in the field.