Brazil | Production
The Brazilian cashew, considered a climate risk crop
The objective is to prevent climatic adversities from coinciding with the most sensitive production phases, minimizing agricultural losses.12/18/2020
One of the most traditional agricultural crops in Brazil, the cashew has, since this month, the Agricultural Zoning of Climate Risk (Zarc). The ordinances with the zoning of culture in various states were published in the Official Gazette this Thursday (17).
The new tool allows the indication of dates and planting periods by municipality. The analysis takes into account climate characteristics, soil type and the cultivar's development cycle. The objective is to prevent climatic adversities from coinciding with the most sensitive phases of production, minimizing agricultural losses.
As a result of this work, Zarc identified the cities suitable for cashew cultivation in Brazil and the planting periods for seedlings in the field, at three risk levels (20%, 30% and 40%) and in accordance with the type of (Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3) for crop year 2021/2022.
According to Marlos Bezerra, deputy head of Technology Transfer (TT) at Embrapa Agroindustry Tropical (Fortaleza-CE) and coordinator of Zarc Caju, the methodology used was the same for other cultures. The parameters, however, have changed. “For the first time, we used a standard methodology to identify regions suitable for growing cashew, demonstrating the possibility of cultivation in new areas, such as in the states of Mato Grosso and Tocantins. There are already people producing in these areas, but with Zarc this activity now has a technical-scientific validation ”, he explains.
He adds: “Zarc sets the ideal dates for taking the seedlings to the field. This is true even for new areas. All of this is based on a 35-year record of climate data. In this process, we use more than 3,500 weather stations across the country ”.
Participation and benefits
The preparation of Zarc had the participation of technicians and producers from all over Brazil. Because of the limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the meetings took place remotely. For Josenilto Vasconcelos, a cashew and cashew producer in the municipality of Parnaíba (PI), agricultural zoning is important because it "adjusts information according to the reality of each region, improving decision making and validating it before credit institutions and agricultural policies ".
Elano Gomes, president of the Cajucultura Technical Chamber of Rio Grande do Norte, highlights the importance of zoning for farmers in the state. "I had the opportunity to participate in an online meeting. Many municipalities were out of agricultural financing programs because they were not zoned. Zarc gives security to the cashew farmer he did not have, especially with regard to land preparation and planting."
The nurseryman Edmundo Alves da Silva sells dwarf cashew seedlings from Ceará to producers throughout the Northeast Region. Knowing which periods of the year are most suitable for planting in each producing state is essential in your activity. "Zoning is extremely important for the cashew culture, as it guides or encourages the beginning of the implantation of the culture and allows us to carry out a better planning in the management, especially with regard to losses of inputs such as seedlings, seeds and fertilizer” .
The culture of the cashew tree is explored by approximately 170 thousand producers, in more than 53 thousand properties, of which 70% are small farmers with areas smaller than 20 hectares. It is estimated that the activity generates around 250 thousand direct and indirect jobs. In the Northeast Region, its importance is even greater, since the demand for labor for the harvest coincides with the off-season of the annual subsistence crops, that is, the second half of the year.
Over the past ten years, annual Brazilian cashew production has declined at a rate of 4.96%. Between 2012 and 2018, there was a reduction in the harvested area of about 20%, due to the water deficiency caused by a historical drought in the Northeast.
According to Embrapa's technical note for the preparation of zoning, it is necessary that low productivity orchards be replaced and that abandoned spaces can be recovered. “There must be a selection of areas with greater aptitude for culture, as well as the planting of quality genetic material of dwarf cashew, using appropriate soil and plant management, so that the new orchards present good productivity and can provide the best use of of the fruit ”, says the note.
Farmers who follow Zarc's recommendations are less subject to climate risks and may benefit from the Agricultural Activity Guarantee Program (Proagro) and the Rural Insurance Premium (PSR) Subsidy Program. Many financial agents only allow access to rural credit for crops in zoned areas and for planting cultivars indicated in zoning ordinances.
Application Planting Right
Farmers and other agribusiness agents can access official Zarc information via tablets and smartphones in a more practical way, facilitating guidance on the federal government's agricultural policy programs. The Zarc Plantio Certo mobile application, developed by Embrapa Informática Agropecuaria, is available in the application stores: iOS and Android
The results of Zarc can also be consulted and downloaded through the platform "Risk Indication Panel".
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