Future of Food

Marcelo Luders


At a glance


Not just for family farms. This is the best way to describe the advances in large-scale organic farming, which is being continuously developed and tested by Brazilian researchers and producers. The issue of organic farming will be one of the main topics at the Brazilian Bean, Pulses and Special Crops Forum (Fórum Brasileiro do Feijão, Pulses e Colheitas Especiais), organized by IBRAFE in Cuiabá (Mato Grosso) on April 11-14. 

Organic crops are cultivated sustainably without the use of chemical fertilizers, synthetic additives, hormones or agrotoxins and play a key role in enriching our diets. According to Organis, the Association for the Promotion of Organic Products (Associação de Promoção dos Orgânicos), in 2020, sales of organic products grew by more than 50% in Brazil, which is becoming a big player in the production and exportation of organic foodstuffs. 

Rizoma Agro, a company specialized in the development of regenerative and organic agriculture, has been developing ways of maximizing the production of organic food in Brazil for the past four years. According to Ana Clara Rocha, head of R&D at Rizoma Agro, the future is bright for organic farming.  

“Initially, organic farming was very difficult and limited in terms of production technology and knowledge. However, access to technology has increased and it’s now possible to map out and predict specific problems and foresee potential challenges. Options for organic products, different types of fertilizers  and the number of tools have all increased. There are still some limitations but the sector is showing positive signs - it’s clear that the demand is there and the offering is increasing as a result as, little by little, we start to see more technology being used and new studies emerging,” said Ana Clara.

She also pointed out that, in the past, organic farming was closely linked to family farming because it was very labor-intensive and large producers are not used to having large numbers of workers at scale. Now, however, with the increasing mechanization of organic farming operations, more and more large-scale producers are taking it up.

“Even weed control, which is one of the biggest challenges of organic farming at scale, no longer presents the challenge it once did. There is new technology that allows us to automate weed control,” added Ana Clara. 

A member of the AGRISAN group, Adrianus Gerardus Sanders, started producing organic beans and corn and is seeing good results, with an average production number of 40 bags/hectare of beans and 180 bags/hectare of corn, with the Ecocert or IBD certificate. 

He asserts that the market is developing and the GDP per capita has a direct influence on demand for organic products, which tend to be priced 30-40% higher than non-organic products.  

“My main motivation is to be part of a farming style that’s profitable, sustainable, prosperous and environmentally-friendly,” Adrianus said.  

What’s next for organic farming?

Some of the biggest industry players have turned their attention to the organic market. The objective is to encourage producers who are willing to start farming organically by providing them with a partnership that can possibly help them to expand production in the future. Consumer demand for healthier food that is less harmful to the environment is one of the biggest motivators pushing the upward trend in the organic market. 

According to information from Gabriel Mardegan, from Rizoma Agro’s business sector, the organic market is in a stage of growth and development. “In more mature markets, such as the US, annual growth is around 10% but some products are exceeding 100% annual growth rate. The entire market has tripled in the past 10 years. In Brazil, the growth rate is about 30% year on year and, in some categories, we’re seeing more than 100%. The organic bean market, for example, grew by 300% in the past 3 years and there’s still plenty of room for more expansion, not to mention the export opportunities.” Gabriel clarified. 

Beans and Pulses Forum

As well as the organic trend, the 8th Brazilian Bean, Pulses and Special Crops Forum will deal with other important industry topics. The 2022 edition of the event will be held in Cuiabá (Mato Grosso) on April 11-14. With the market showing such significant growth, the Forum is a must for anyone looking to gain key insights about this sector. 

Registrations can be made on the site: https://forumdofeijao.com.br/, where you can also consult all the information and updates about the event. 

The event will be held in-person but some of the sessions will also be available online for participants.