What is the ABC Plan and what does "ABC" stand for?
The ABC Plan, officially named "Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation to Consolidate a Low-Carbon Economy in Agriculture", is one of the sector plans established in accordance with the National Policy on Climate Change (Federal Law 12.167/2009) as part of Brazil's strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fight global warming.
The acronym ABC is formed by the initials of "Agricultura de Baixo Carbono", the Portuguese translation of "Low-Carbon Agriculture". This term was initially adopted to identify GHG emission mitigating actions. The word "emission" was later added, rendering the term "Agricultura de Baixa Emissão de Carbono" (Low-Carbon Emission Agriculture), to enhance the identity of the Brazilian proposal. However, for didactic reasons and to facilitate communication, the acronym "ABC" was preserved to describe the Brazilian plan to mitigate GHG emissions in agriculture.
Therefore, it is a public policy composed of a set of actions aimed at increasing the use of sustainable agriculture technologies with high potential in mitigating GHG emission. These technologies are: Rehabilitation of Degraded Pastures, Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest (ICLF) Systems, No-till farming, Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF), Planted Forests, and Animal Waste Treatment.
The ABC plan was created in accordance with article 3 of Federal Law 7.390/2010 with the objective of organizing action plans to meet international GHG emission reduction commitments for the agricultural sector made by Brazil in 2009.
How did GHG emission mitigation actions start in Brazil?
One of the results of the event known as "Rio 92", that is, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Brazil, was the creation of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The final objective of the Convention is to stabilize GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous anthropic intervention in the climate system. This level should be reached within a time frame that allows ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, ensuring that food production is not threatened and that economic development can proceed in a sustainable way.
After the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15), held in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and after informing the parties, the Brazilian government issued a voluntary national commitment to reducing GHG emissions. In 2011, the ABC Plan was approved describing the commitments of Brazilian agriculture to reduce GHG emissions.
Why is the Greenhouse Effect such a cause for concern?
The phenomenon known as "greenhouse effect" occurs when solar radiation, in the form of shortwaves, reaches Earth, enters the atmosphere, heats the Earth's surface, and part of this radiation is reflected back to the atmosphere as heat, in infrared wavelengths.
This heat is then blocked by certain gaseous chemical components of the atmosphere, increasing its retention in the lower layers of the atmosphere. This natural phenomenon is important to maintain temperatures within acceptable limits for life on Earth.
However, the recent growth of concentrations of heat-retaining gases known as Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in the atmosphere has impacted the planet's solar radiation balance, with a tendency to heat its surface.
The main GHGs identified by the Kyoto Protocol are: Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6).
Human activities intensified with the advent of the Industrial Revolution (late 1700s-early 1800s) and still practiced today generate countless sources of GHG emissions, such as burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, swamp draining, use of inefficient nitrogen fertilizers, slash and burn agriculture, intensive soil use, etc.
With the escalation of these activities and the ensuing growth in GHG emissions in the atmosphere (especially CO2), an increase in heat-trapping has been observed on the planet extending over a long period of time. This has led to what is conventionally called Global Warming, which in turn can generate changes in the Earth's climate patterns, with unpredictable consequences.
What does Global Warming mean?
The term "global warming" means that the whole Earth is warming, that is, its average surface temperature has been increasing over the years as a result of the increase in the greenhouse effect, which is due to higher concentrations of certain GHGs in the atmosphere, especially CO2, CH4 and N2O.
However, there are differences in heat-retaining capacity among these gases. For example, the GWP1 pattern adopted by IPCC2 indicates that methane and nitrous oxide respectively retain 21 and 310 times more solar radiation than CO2 over a 100-year period.
In Brazil, nevertheless, due to greater scientific accuracy in representing the temperature-raising potential of each greenhouse gas, the preferred yardstick to measure GHG effects is GTP3, which presents an important difference in relation to the GWP pattern.
CO2 is the most important GHG whose emissions have been intensified by human activity. Global concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere have risen from a pre-industrial (around 1750) figure of approximately 280 ppm to 394 ppm in 2010. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 in 2005 was much higher than the natural level for the previous 650,000 years (between 180 and 300 ppm), as determined by ice-core records.
Annual CO2 concentration rates have been the highest (average between 1995-2010 = 1.94 ppm per year) in the last years since the beginning of continuous atmosphere measurements (average between 1960-2005 = 1.46 ppm per year).
Other aspects may also contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming: cyclical solar activity, which produces warming periods that are usually accompanied by greater CO2 concentrations due to faster and more intense disintegration of organic matter; reduction in green areas covered by permanent vegetation; increase in irradiative surfaces that produce excessive heat; and reduction in harvested water, triggering aridization and desertification processes.
In the last centuries, the average temperature of the Earth's surface has increased approximately 0.8ºC, and an increase between 1.4ºC and 5.8 ºC was projected for the next 100 years in the "Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC", of 2007. And according to the latest IPCC report, of 2013, conviction of human participation in the causes of global warming has increased and the temperature has raised 0.89ºC since 1905, although it has remained relatively stable for the last 15 years. The same report records a 66% probability of a 2ºC temperature increase by 2100, with potential ensuing climate change.
What is IPCC and what does Climate Change mean?
IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN (United Nations) body established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), composed of scientific governmental delegations to provide regular evaluations on climate change.
IPCC defines "climate change" as any climatic alteration occurring over time, whether caused by natural variation or resulting from human activity. For the Framework Convention on Climate Change, it means climate change directly or indirectly resulting from human activity which alters the composition of the global atmosphere.
What is the definition of climate change mitigation?
It consists of human intervention to reduce or counteract GHG emissions. It aims to prevent the causes of climate change in order to minimize its adverse effects, which would be possible by reducing GHG emissions into the atmosphere.
What does climate change adaptation mean?
These are technological measures to prevent the effects of climate change, or to prepare human communities and the environment to face the impact of the adverse effects of climate change; that is, by planning emergency measures to rectify damage caused by climate change and/or extreme climate events; actions aimed at strengthening the resilience of productive systems and communities while reducing their vulnerability to the impact of the adverse effects of climate change.
What are consequences of global warming and climate change for agriculture and livestock?
Agriculture and animal husbandry are obviously dependent on climatic conditions, since they are developed in natural environments that are transformed for production (agroecosystems), wherein plants are grown in the soil and directly exposed to meteorological elements (light, temperature, humidity, rainfall, winds, atmospheric gases, atmospheric pressure).
Therefore, climate change can affect agricultural and livestock production and cause negative and unpredictable consequences for various reasons, such as the increased CO2 concentrations, increased air and soil temperatures, and increase in droughts and torrential rain (precipitation extremes).
As an overall consequence, climate change might be so intense in the following decades to the point of changing the geography of agriculture production in Brazil and worldwide. Thus, areas that are currently major producers might cease to be so by 2020 or 2050. There are also predictions indicating greater negative impact in tropical and subtropical regions than in temperate regions.
A recent study has shown that temperature increase can cause a general reduction in grain-growing areas in Brazil. Apart from sugar cane and manioc, all crops would suffer a decrease in the low-risk area and, consequently, in production value. Grain yield losses could amount to R$ 7.4 billion by 2020, and this figure could increase to R$ 14 billion by 2070.
Therefore, one can say that there is a sensitive link between climate conditions and feasible agricultural production, and of both with GHG concentrations in the atmosphere, and that the balance between these factors is influenced by the balanced dynamics of carbon compounds in nature.
What can agricultural producers and livestock breeders do about the issue of Global Warming?
First of all, they should inform themselves. Although emissions are localized, the warming is a global phenomenon and affects the whole Earth. Thus, their interference on the delicate climate system will also have global effects, which means this problem can only be solved by humankind as a whole.
Both agriculture and animal husbandry are extremely sensitive to temperature increase and climate change. On the other hand, these activities can contribute to mitigating the effects of such serious environmental problems.
Objectively speaking, what the agricultural sector should do is reduce GHG emissions per agricultural product as much as possible, and, inversely, increase GHG removal into biomass and soil as much as possible. This will contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect, diminish global warming and, in addition, increase the efficiency and resilience of productive systems, thus fostering agricultural sustainability.
Agricultural producers and animal breeders in tropical regions must have access to technologies, products, and services that support the adoption and/or expansion of sustainable production systems so they can have improved environmental conditions, better productivity, better product quality, increased income, effective soil and water conservation to reduce future impacts of the adverse effects of climate change in their properties, and, in the future, recognition and compensation for environmental services.
How was the ABC Plan created?
Brazil is one of the emerging countries that were not obliged to set GHG emission reduction goals in international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. However, the country presented a set of voluntary actions (NAMAs – Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions) to reduce its GHG emissions during COP-15 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
At this event, the Brazilian government committed itself to reduce its GHG emissions by 36.1 to 38.9% in relation to the country's projected emissions until 2020, a cut of 1 billion tons of CO2 equivalent. To this end, it proposed a program of voluntary actions aimed to: i) reduce deforestation in the Amazon region by 80% and in the Cerrado region by 40%; ii) act intensively to recover pasture areas currently degraded; actively foster integrated crop-livestock systems; expand the use of No-till Farming and Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF); and iii) increase energy efficiency, the use of biofuels, the offer of hydroelectric power and alternative energy from biomass, wind farms, and small hydropower stations, as well as increase the use of charcoal from planted forests by the steel industry.
Subsequently, concerning specific agricultural commitments, other strategies were added such as Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest (ICLF) Systems and Agroforestry Systems (AFS), as well as Planted Forests and Animal Waste Treatment.
What are the objectives of the ABC Plan?
The overall objective of the ABC Plan is to foster GHG emission mitigation in agriculture, as provided by the National Policy on Climate Change (PNMC), improving efficiency in using natural resources, increasing the resilience of production systems and rural communities, and allowing the agriculture sector to adapt to climate change.
The plan's specific objectives are:
- To contribute to fulfilling the voluntary GHG emission reduction commitments made by Brazil in international climate agreements and as provided by legislation;
- To ensure continuous and sustained improvement of management practices in the various sectors of Brazilian agriculture that can contribute to reducing GHG emissions and increasing CO2 fixation in plants and soils in their respective areas;
- To encourage the adoption of Sustainable Production Systems that ensure the reduction of GHG emissions and simultaneously increase farmers' income, especially the expansion of the following technologies: Rehabilitation of Degraded Pastures; Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest (ICLF) Systems and Agroforestry Systems (AFS); No-till Farming; Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF); and Planted Forests;
- To encourage the use of Animal Waste Treatment to generate biogas and organic compost;
- To encourage studies on and application of techniques for the adaptation of plants, production systems, and rural communities to the new atmospheric warming scenarios, particularly the most vulnerable ones; and,
- To foster efforts to reduce deforestation caused by the expansion of cattle farming and other factors.
How was the ABC Plan elaborated?
The ABC Plan resulted from intense efforts coordinated by the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Presidency, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) and the Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA), with effective participation and representation of civil society.
Over 100 people and more than 30 government, non-government and private bodies were involved for over a year and a half in drafting the text and commitments of the agriculture sector to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The ABC Plan was approved in May 2011 at an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Group of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (Gex/CIM) and was published in 2012.
A Working Group (WG) was formed during this process coordinated by the Office of the Chief of Staff and initially composed by representatives of the Federal Government, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA), through the Strategic Management Advisory Office (AGE), the Secretariat of Agricultural Development and Cooperatives (SDC) and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA); Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA); Ministry of Finance (MF); Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT) and Ministry of the Environment (MMA).
This WG was later expanded to include representatives of organizations that were appointed by the "Brazilian Climate Change Forum (FBMC)" and the "Climate Observatory": Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CAN), National Confederation of Agricultural Workers (Contag), Brazilian Cooperatives Organization (OCB), Unified Confederation of Workers (CUT), Institute for Socio-Economic Studies (Inesc), Conservation International, WWF – Brazil, among others.
Invitations were also extended to representatives of organizations from the productive sector, such as: Brazilian Federation of No-till farming (FEBRAPDP), Brazilian Association of Planted Forest Producers (ABRAF), National Association of Producers and Importers of Inoculants (ANPII) and Itaipu Binacional.
How does the plan work in practice?
The commitments established in the ABC Plan relate to expanding the adoption or use of technologies that can be adopted to mitigate GHG emissions and at the same time foster the retention or removal of CO2 into biomass or soil, as illustrated in Table 1.
Table 1 – Technological process and national commitments related to the mitigation of GHG emissions in agriculture.
(increase in area/use)
Rehabilitation of Degraded Pastures1
15.0 million ha
Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest Systems2
4.0 million ha
No-till Farming System
8.0 million ha
Biological Nitrogen Fixation
5.5 million ha
3.0 million ha
Animal Waste Treatment
4.4 million m3
1 Through adequate management, liming, and fertilization
2 Including Agroforestry Systems (AFS).
3 This does not include the Brazilian commitment related to the steel industry, and the GHG-emission mitigation potential has not been calculated;.
These commitments were ratified in article 12 of the law establishing the National Policy on Climate Change – PNMC (Law nº 12.187 of December 29, 2009). This legislation specifies that the Executive Branch of the Brazilian Government will establish the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Sector Plans to consolidate a low-carbon economy in various sectors of the economy, including agriculture.
On December 9, 2010, Decree no. 7390 was published regulating articles 6, 11 and 12 of Law no. 12,187.Specifically with regard to agriculture, this regulation provided for the establishment of the ABC Plan.
Such Plan comprises a set of actions to foster "low" GHG emissions in the agriculture sector, and not "zero" emission, which would be unfeasible. In other words, the ABC Plan also aims to ensure continuous and sustained improvement of management practices that contribute to reduce GHG emission and, additionally, increase the fixation of CO2 in plants and soils in their respective areas in the various sectors of Brazilian agriculture.
The ABC Plan framework includes seven Programs: 1) Rehabilitation of Degraded Pastures; 2) Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest Systems(ICLF); 3) No-till farming; 4) Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF); 5) Planted Forests; 6) Animal Waste Treatment; and (7) Climate Change Adaptation.
The Plan provides for several actions in each one of these programs, involving: dissemination of information, qualification of technicians and producers, transference of technology, research and development, land tenure and environmental regularization, lines of credit to finance sustainable production, production and distribution of tree seedlings, provision of inputs for family farmers, technical assistance services, among others.
The execution of this Plan is coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) and the Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA).
Is the ABC Plan the same as the ABC Program?
No. The ABC Plan is a sector plan linked to the guidelines of the National Climate Change Policy and relates to international commitments made at COP-15.
The "ABC (Low-Carbon Agriculture) Program", on the other hand, is a line of credit established in the 2010/2011 Agriculture and Livestock Plan by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) and approved by Brazilian Central Bank Resolution nº 3,896 from August 17, 2010. At the time if offered a total of R$2 billion in loans to finance adequate practices, adapted technologies and efficient productive systems contributing to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
At an interest rate of 5.5% a year, this program financed the implementation and expansion of integrated crop-livestock or integrated crop-livestock-forest systems, fertilization and implementation of soil conservation practices, implementation and maintenance of commercial forests, recovery of preservation areas and forest reserves and other practices involving sustainable production and geared towards low GHG emission.
In the current 2013/2014 Agriculture and Livestock Plan, the volume of resources available increased 32% compared to the previous year, totaling R$ 4.5 billion at interest rates of 5.0% a year. At the time, the limit was R$1 million per client, per crop year. The same client can take out more than one loan in the same crop year if necessary, as long as he can prove his ability to pay and the total amount of loans does not exceed R$ 1 million. This limit can be increased to R$ 3 million to finance the creation of commercial forests, and in the case of loans taken out by cooperatives for their members, this limit is per member.
In the 2012/13 crop year, R$ 2.73 billion in loans have already been taken out (by May 2013) in 9,473 contracts, a 555% increase compared to the same period of the year in 2010/2011. This is commensurate with the rate of implementation of the ABC Plan in the country. From the creation of the ABC Program line of credit in 2010 to 2014, approximately 15.1 thousand loan contracts had been closed.
The 2014/2015 Crop Plan offered R$ 4.5 billion in loans with a few changes, such as interest rates of 4.5% a year for agricultural producers with an annual gross income up to R$ 1.6 million (according to Pronamp criteria) and 5.0% a year for producers with an annual gross income over R$ 1.6 million.
What items can be financed by the ABC Program line of credit?
The following items can be financed, provided they are linked to projects that conform to BNDES standards for financeable ventures:
- Elaboration of technical projects and georeferencing of rural properties, including technical and administrative expenses related to environmental regulation processes;
- Technical assistance required up to the project maturation phase;
- Reallocation of internal roads in rural properties according to environmental requirements;
- Acquisition of inputs and payment of services to implement and maintain financed projects;
- Payment of services intended for conversion to organic production and corresponding certification;
- Acquisition, transportation, application and incorporation of agricultural correctives (limestone and others);
- Design and construction of terraces and implementation of soil conservation practices;
- Production of green manure and growth of cover crops;
- Acquisition of seeds and seedlings to establish pastures and forests;
- Creation of forest tree nurseries;
- Tree stump removal operations;
- Construction and recovery of fences; acquisition of fence energizers;
- Acquisition, construction or renovation of watering troughs and mineral feeders;
- Acquisition of cattle, sheep, or goats for reproduction, breeding and finishing, and semen, eggs and embryos of these species, limited to 40% (forty percent) of the loan value;
- • Acquisition of nationally produced machinery, implements and equipment, including for activities related to irrigation systems, agriculture and livestock breeding, biodigesters, composting and energy production and storage, limited to 40% (forty percent) of the loan value, except for items related to setting up, maintaining and improving animal waste treatment systems for energy production and composting (ABC Waste Treatment), which can represent 100% (one hundred percent) of the loan value;
- Construction and modernization of rural property facilities and improvements; and,
- • Expenses related to use of own personnel, provided they are compatible with regional production cost structures specified by official survey or technical assistance institutions and are linked to technically structured and advised projects, in which case the correct use of resources according to the project must be attested by an official technical assistance report submitted to the financial institution at least once every semester of the calendar year.
Costs associated with the investment project can also be financed, limited to 30% (thirty percent) of the loan, which can be increased to: 35% (thirty percent) of the loan when intended for establishing and maintaining commercial forests or recovering permanent preservation areas or allocated legal reserves; or 40% (forty percent) of the loan when the project includes the acquisition of cattle, sheep, or goats for reproduction, rearing and finishing, and semen from these species.
How does the removal of atmospheric CO2 occur in agriculture?
Relevant strategies to reduce GHG emissions include reducing the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gasoline, diesel, coal), minimizing deforestation and slash-and-burn land clearing, adopting adequate soil management and strategies to maximize CO2removal, which is commonly known as "carbon sequestration".
In this latter process, CO2 is captured from the atmosphere by green plants and transformed into organic compounds by photosynthesis, the chemical reaction between CO2 and water (H2O), producing carbohydrates (sugars) and oxygen (a gas which returns to the atmosphere). Photosynthesis is a complex biochemical reaction which occurs exclusively in the presence of sunlight and is restricted to chloroplasts.
Therefore, to summarize, molecules of an atmospheric gas containing carbon (CO2) react with water, in certain parts of green plants (leaves, stem, etc.) and in the presence of light, and are transformed into a solid state organic compound containing carbon in its composition (carbohydrates or sugars), releasing the gas oxygen into the atmosphere.
Following this process in which carbon is removed from the atmosphere and incorporated by green plants, the element plays various roles in the formation of biomass and in plant metabolism, becoming the component of several organic compounds.
The death of plants causes the formation of plant residues (undergrowth in forest areas or crop residues left after harvesting). Over time, these residues undergo a process of fragmentation by macroorganisms and, later, decomposition by microorganisms. Therefore, if this material is not protected from the biological action of soil organisms, or if such action is not slow, most of it will soon return to the atmosphere as CO2.
The preservation of residue on the surface reduces its contact with the soil, slowing the decomposing rate. In addition, the lack of soil disturbance by agricultural implements added to increased biological activity fosters the formation of structures called aggregates. Plant residues recently added to the soil are incorporated into the aggregates, where they are protected from the decomposing action of soil organisms. The final result is a greater quality of organic compounds preserved from biological action and increased quantities of Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and Soil Organic Matter (SOM).
For example, in Brazil, the SOM build-up in No-till Farming Systems (NTFS) and its consequent potential to remove CO2 has been confirmed by various authors in different ecoregions. This process of carbon fixation in the soil as humified (stable) organic matter over a long period of time is commonly known as carbon sequestration. Thus, soils managed under no-till farming systems, in which there is no soil preparation and the addition of crop residue, move away from being sources of CO2 into becoming sinks to assimilate CO2 into the soil.
A further effect of the reduction of GHG emissions in NTFS is related to the reduction of mechanized operations. Estimates indicate a decrease of 40 liters of diesel oil per hectare per year with the removal of one plowing and two tillage sessions. However, in order to achieve higher rates of CO2sequestration it is necessary to associate NTFS with crop rotation and cover crops. The use of leguminous plants is important to improve the nitrogen balance in the ecosystem and increase the sequestration of CO2 in the soil since the dynamics of carbon and nitrogen are closely linked. Therefore, increasing Nitrogen Biological Fixation (NBF) through the use of leguminous plants is an important soil management strategy.
The use of NTFS, with the appropriate production of plant residue on the soil surface, stores carbon in the soil, improves rainwater drainage, soil permeability, and water storage capacity (essential to exploit crop yield potential). It also reflects short-wave solar radiation (the lighter, whitish color of the plant residues has greater reflectivity, thus prevention the generation of heat), keeps soil temperatures stable, prevents heat peaks that can reduce the efficiency of roots to absorb water and nutrients, and reduces soil water loss through evaporation and transpiration, which, for instance, results in less need for irrigation, saving 30% to 50% in water and energy demand.
More complex systems such as integrated crop-livestock (ICL) or integrated crop-livestock-forest (ICLF) systems, which combine plant residue and forest, can significantly contribute to carbon retention in soil and biomass and to reduce GHG emissions.
Additionally, in ICLF systems, part of the removed CO2can help to reduce emissions in other sectors besides agriculture, if the timber produced is used to make furniture or generate energy. The production of energy from planted trees can replace the use of fossil fuels. This replacement of a non-renewable source of energy (oil) by a renewable source (vegetable charcoal) can be considered a reduction of GHG emissions.
The same is the case, with even greater potential, of commercial forests, especially eucalyptus and pine, among other species adapted to forestry.
Are there technologies that increase GHG emissions and others that reduce GHG emissions?
Some agricultural processes and practices have a negative impact on the carbon balance and contribute to increase emissions, such as: land use change, deforestation, biomass burning, soil erosion, overgrazing, pasture degradation, mechanized farming (plowing, tillage, etc.), soil fertility depletion, treatment of organic waste and residues, among others.
In contrast, agricultural practices that restore TOC and SOM levels and increase soil capacity to absorb carbon, therefore considered carbon emission mitigating technologies, are: NTFS, ICLF systems, reforestation, conservation practices, use of inoculants for BNF, recovery of degraded pastures, rational pasture management, perennial crops, appropriate use of chemical and organic fertilizers, Agroforestry Systems (AFS), treatment of organic residues and waste with the generation of biogas, among others.
For example, in degraded pastures there is a loss of plant cover and a reduction in the soil organic matter content. The result is increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the atmosphere, on top of rendering the area unproductive. Therefore, rehabilitating degraded pastures fosters the opposite scenario, increasing biomass production and atmospheric CO2 affording greater possibilities to expand carbon storage in the soil and boost pasture productivity.
Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest (ICLF) Systems, in turn, foster the rehabilitation of degraded pastures, combining different productive systems such as grain, fiber, meat, milk and agroenergy in the same area. It aims to improve soil fertility by applying cropping techniques and systems that are appropriate to optimize and intensify land use. Normally, given the complexity and interaction of the different components, it results in increased soil and biomass carbon.
The No-till Farming System (NTFS) is a technology that dispenses with soil disturbance and avoids erosion by planting seeds directly on the residue of the previous crop. The residue and organic remains protect the soil and reduce water loss. Thus, it is possible to preserve humidity, accumulate carbon, increase crop yield and cut machinery and fuel costs.
Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF)is a technique that, through microorganisms and/or bacteria, enables the capture of nitrogen from the air to turn it into organic matter for crops, which provides reduced production costs, higher organic matter content, and improved soil fertility.
The technology of Planted Forests in rural properties has four basic objectives: create a long-term source of income for the producer; increase the offer of timber for industrial use (cellulose and paper, furniture and wooden panels), energy generation (charcoal and firewood), building and other applications; reduce the pressure on native forests; and capture CO2 from the atmosphere, reducing the effects of global warming.
Finally, Animal Waste Treatment uses waste from pigs and other animals in the production of energy (gas) and organic composts and reduces gas emissions, especially methane(CH4). The correct disposal of waste and runoffs from confined livestock production has been an important element for the environmental regulation of rural properties.
How will the technological processes that reduce GHG emissions be transferred to farmers interested in adopting them?
In each program, that is, for each technology of the ABC Plan, a series of actions will be developed, such as:
- Implementation of various technology strategies, including training instructors, capacity-building for technicians and rural producers, incentives to the creation of technician networks, elaboration of technical plans and technical assistance programs for producers, in addition to field days, lectures, seminars, workshops, and the establishment of Technological Reference Units;
- Production of informative material and campaigns, including televised content (Banco do Brasil TV) to divulge the economic and environmental benefits of the actions provided by the programs;
- Publication of calls to hire Technical Assistance and Rural Extension services to elaborate and implement projects for family farmers and land reform settlers;
- Creation of campaigns to stimulate the implementation of ICLFS and AFS in green corridors and the recovery of allocated legal reserve and permanent protection areas in small properties; and; e,
- Facilitation of access to the ABC Program lines of credit through agricultural projects to finance the adoption of one of the technological methods eligible for loans.