Brazil’s National Policy for Agroecology and Organic Production (PNAPO)

Published: 13 May 2019
Last edited: 02 October 2020
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Developed as a result of intense civil society engagement and structured around seven comprehensive guidelines that encompass the most relevant aspects of sustainable food chains and systems, PNAPO is a unique federal framework policy for advancing agroecology and organic production in Brazil. In its first cycle of activities it led to impressive quantitative results in terms of advancing the agroecological agenda in the country (budget and initiative-wise), investing over EUR 364 million, resulting in visible large-scale improvements for smallholders and vulnerable groups. Amongst others, it constructed over 140,000 cisterns and helped 5,300 municipalities to invest 30% or more of their school feeding budgets in organic and agroecological products purchased from family farmers. For its achievements, Brazil’s PNAPO was recognized with the Future Policy Silver Award 2018, awarded by the World Future Council in partnership with FAO and IFOAM – Organics International.


South America
Scale of implementation
Desert ecosystems
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Grassland ecosystems
Hot desert
Pool, lake, pond
River, stream
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Tropical grassland, savanna, shrubland
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Ecosystem services
Food security
Geodiversity and Geoconservation
Health and human wellbeing
Local actors
Sustainable livelihoods
Erratic rainfall
Extreme heat
Glacial retreat
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Shift of seasons
Storm surges
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Inefficient management of financial resources
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Physical resource extraction
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction
Target 13: Safeguarding genetic diversity
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 16: Access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Direct engagement with associations




It is worthy of notice that the Brazilian agroecological movements encompass actors from multiple spheres of society, e.g. peasant youth and women, landless workers, traditional communities. They date back to the 1970’s social movement for an alternative agriculture, which was one of the first to formally address in country the problems related to the environmental degradation caused by the Green Revolution and its impacts on food production. This movement was then strengthened by the arrival in Brazil of specific scientific literature on agroecology and by the creation of certain organizations, such as the AS-PTA, ANA and ABA. In the mid-1990s, “the Brazilian agroecological movement made significant strides, gaining ground among social movements, NGOs, higher education and research institutions, as well as in technical support and rural extension programs”. Agroecological demands have thus acquired momentum in the country over the past fifteen years.


PLANAPO led to impressive quantitative results in terms of advancing the agroecological agenda and has likely improved the lives of millions of people, ie it constructed 143,000 cisterns, assisted 5,300 municipalities and trained 200,000 farmers.

How do the building blocks interact?

Developing a pioneer framework policy on agroecology (BB1) has been the basis for setting up institutions for the coordination of measures (BB2) and implementing the policy (BB3). Together these builidng blocks built  PNAPO's potential as a transferable model (BB4).


PLANAPO led to impressive quantitative results in terms of advancing the agroecological agenda in Brazil. Among the numerous important outcomes of PLANAPO 2013-2015 and PNAPO we can highlight that it constructed 143,000 cisterns (initial goal was 60,000); assisted 5,300 municipalities to spend 30 per cent or more of their school meal programme budget on purchases of organic and agroecological products from family farmers (some municipalities even reach 100 per cent); assisted 393 rural family farming organizations; launched several public calls that enabled agroecological organizations to expand their staff on an unprecedented scale benefitting about 132,744 farming families; trained 7,722 technicians (initial goal was 2,000) and 52,779 farmers (one third of initial goal of 182,000); promoted 24 networks for agroecology; trained 960 professionals and political leaders on financing women in organic and agroecological agriculture, which benefitted 5,200 rural women in 20 different Brazilian States; supported 556 women’s networks, benefitting 5,566 rural women; adapted 600 native seeds banks to semiarid conditions and trained more than 12,000 farmers families hereon; and financed nine projects for seeds for agroecology.


Leandro Molina

I am Emerson Giacomelli. I am one of the peasants settled by the Brazil Agrarian Reform policy in the Chapel Settlement in Nova Santa Rita. The municipality is part of the Metropolitan region of Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul.

I am the son of small farmers of Ronda Alta, in the North region of Rio Grande do Sul. I got to know the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in 1985, when they occupied the old Fazenda Annoni, which is a symbol of the fight for land in my country. For believing in this fight, I camped in 1989 and five years later I was settled.

Today, I am President of the Cooperative of Settled workers from Porto Alegre (COOTAP) and I coordinate the Agroecological Rice Management Group, which brings together 363 families of the MST. In 2019, we estimate to harvest approximately 16 thousand tons of organic rice, in an area of ​​3,433 hectares, in 13 settlements and 15 municipalities. These data place the MST as the largest producer of organic rice in Latin America.

The productive, industrial and commercial processes are coordinated by COOTAP. We work with different cooperatives, such as the Cooperativa de Produção Agropecuária Nova Santa Rita (COOPAN), Cooperativa de  Agropecuária de Assentados de Tapes (COOPAT), and others.

The National Policy on Agroecology and Organic Production (PNAPO) was fundamental to the development of our project, since we accessed the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA), the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE) and Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (ATER), and other agroindustries. We were able to plan production, to enable families to stay in the field with work and income, to ensure the marketing of products and gain knowledge to improve the relationship between producer and consumer.

We sell rice in several states of Brazil and have exported since 2008 to several countries. We are now looking for new markets in Greece, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, China, Haiti, Jamaica, Costa Rica, among other places.However, with the current federal government, we are concerned about the possibility of extermination of these programmes that have helped us to develop a new type of agriculture that respects soil, water, air and all forms of life. The PAA has been weakened and we fear that the PNAE will have the same fate. The end of them represents less income, work, development, quality of life and will result, of course, in more migration to the big cities.

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Ingrid Heindorf World Future Council (WFC)

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Federal University of Santa Catarina