Criteria for scaling up oil palm agroforestry in northeastern Pará, Brazil


Authors: Camila Costa, Iguatemi Costa, Mauro Costa, Bruno Lima, Gizele Souza and Raoni Silva

General - 2024

ISSUE No.: 62


Language: English


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The Brazilian municipality of Tomé-Açu has over two-hundred agroforestry systems, which integrate oil palm into a larger, diversified production system, promoting farmers’ livelihoods, biodiversity, and ecological resilience; avoiding the many social and environmental conflicts associated with oil palm monocultures. There are four main challenges to scaling up oil palm agroforestry in the Amazon. These include environmental and land tenure regularisation, implementing effective financing, meeting labour demands, and securing market connections. In response, the Expansion Pilot project has been collaboratively developed between Natura, CAMTA, and other organisations, to develop low-risk business models for farmers.

The project established guiding principles for oil palm agroforestry, which focus on plant diversity, functionality, and economic diversity as the three key performance indicators; checking reliability, eligibility, scalability, replicability, and impact. The guiding principles provide criteria and scoring systems for assessing the performance of agroforestry systems, ensuring continuous improvement over time. The financial implementation of agroforestry systems is also a key aspect, as financial institutions now offer investment lines specifically for oil palm agroforestry. Carbon sequestration and insurance specific to agroforestry are also being explored as potential financing mechanisms. Further improvements to oil palm agroforestry practices will require collaboration with government agencies, the development of mechanisation alternatives, and ongoing research and innovation; all of which will help mitigate the negative impacts of oil palm monoculture.

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