Stonemeal Technology: Changing the poverty scenario in Brazil
Stonemeal technique within an agro-geo-ecological, technological context was introduced to a specific group of family farmers in the state of Bahia, northeast of Brazil as part of a partnership between the University of Brasilia and the Bahia State government. The group was composed of ‘afrodescent’ farmers who live in isolated communities. The ’Cio da Terra Project’ aims at improving soils and agricultural production, and serves about 1200 families in ten communities. In general, communities do not have access to official financing,suitable technical assistance and local market access mechanisms. The experiments and tests were implemented in all ten areas with the purpose of demonstrating the feasibility of using stonemeal to improve soil fertility and, consequently, agricultural production. The material used was locally available crushed amphibolites and phosphate rocks, associated with cow manure. After two years of activities, it is possible to say that the results were highly positive,both with regards to increased production and communities’ mobilization. On test plots, the levels of available phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium increased in the soil after application of ground rock and cow manure. The soil pH changed and, in many cases, increased from highly acidic to mildly acidic or mildly alkaline. Plant development (corn/maize, beans and cassava) also showed a positive increase in yield when compared with the production on control plots. These initial results point out the feasibility of the agro-geoecological projects directed to traditional communities, as they offer new opportunities for social, productive and economic inclusion to family farmers. They also enhance the supply and diversity of food, thus improving the food security among poor farmers.