MAIS LEITE - Creating climate resilient dairy cattle in vulnerable areas
The MAIS improves milk productivity and quality and decreases production fluctuations of family farmers living in vulnerable areas
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Onda Verde Ltda (ADAPTA)
Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Rio de Janeiro
Location(s) of impact
Brazil, Bahia: Baixa G., Capela, Capim G., Gavião, Ipirá, Mairi, Nova Fátima, Pé de Serra, Pintadas, Quixabeira, Riachão, São José, Serra P., Vázea
The logo of our company has 3 itens: a sun that produces water and a cactus. Through this logo we want to express the urge to promote resilience but also the feeling of hope. Drought and climate change shall be looked as an opportunity to promote positive change, such as the case of the use of Opuntia-Ficus, a peculiar variety of cactus that we have used in the MAIS Leite to feed animals and reduce production costs as shown in the following slides.
The MAIS Leite business model has been developed through a multi-stakeholder engagement process with NGOs, cooperatives, public sector institutions, private sector entities, development banks and research institutions. This picture shows one of the early discussion forums that have been organised regularly to understand the conditions to develop the innovation that later on become the "MAIS Leite Program".
Palma forrageira (Opuntia Ficus) is an example of disruptive technology used in the MAIS. Opuntia is a peculiar type of cactus that grows easily in areas with low rainfall. MAIS Leite uses Opuntia Ficus as a substitute to corn and fibrous forage, reducing 30-40% feed costs. Opuntia corresponds to 40-60% of the animal nutritional feed in the MAIS Leite. In the picture: Opuntia and Igor Cezar, the MAIS Leite coordinator that has trained several MAIS Leite field technicians and farmers on Opuntia.
The MAIS Leite system is a mechanised production system that decreases the manual work of farmer to optimize their time and improve their life quality. Micro-tractors are an affordable tool to increase efficiency. The picture shows Fernanda, a MAIS Leite field technician, testing a brand new micro-tractor at a farmer site.
The MAIS Leite system is a mechanised production system that decreases the manual work of farmer to optimize their time and improve their life quality. Farmers usually spend 2 hours per day to milk their cows. When production reaches about 100 litres/day, the MAIS Leite system proposes the use of a mechanical milker that milks the animal in about 30 minutes. The opportunity-cost of the mechanical milker pays the investment in less than 2 years.
The restoration of degraded pasture through silvipastorial system is a central component of the MAIS Leite system. In the picture a field experiment to explore the use of Opuntia Ficus as soil protection and humidity supplier to the seedling root system. Seedlings loss can be over 90% in rain-fed settings in semiarid regions. The use of older seedling, mulching and the use of drought resistant varieties are essential strategies to guarantee a much higher success rate.
The restoration of degraded pasture through silvipastorial system is a central component of the MAIS Leite system. In the picture a field experiment to explore possible mechanisms to restore degraded pasture in a farm in Pintadas, semiarid region of Bahia state, one of the municipalities where the MAIS Leite has been conceived and tested.
Working groups are a successful strategy to increase the learning curve of farmers almost exponentially. The technical assistance service that is used to disseminate the MAIS Leite relies a lot on farmers field working groups. In the picture, farmers are working together to prepare silage for the dry season.
Capacity building is a central component to the MAIS Leite technical assistance service. During 24 training sessions over 24 to 36 months, farmers receive orientations from the technicians on how to implement and use the different MAIS technologies in the farms. Whenever feasible, we ask farmers to train other farmers on the adoption of the technology under the supervision of our field technicians. In the picture, Elton (a farmer) is teaching other farmers how to plant Opuntia Ficus.
To disseminate innovations and the MAIS system strategies, we organize field demonstrations where we invite students, famers, field technicians from other programs. In the picture, a group of farmers and students learn how to plant densely spaced opuntia ficus.
To disseminate innovations and the MAIS system strategies, we organize field demonstrations where we invite students, famers, field technicians from other programs. In the picture, a group of farmers and students participate in a training session.
The MAIS system is implemented over 24 to 36 months. Field technicians visit farmers on a monthly basis (1 technician attends 25 farmers). The technician plans all the sequencial MAIS Leite steps together with the farmer and help him/her capitalise through a better farm asset management and by facilitating access to a credit program that is designed with financial institutions to attend the demand of the farmers group. In the picture, the farmer Normaleide during a group visit to her farm.
The initiative won 6 national prizes and 4 international prizes. In 2014, the MAIS won the "Millennium Development Goal" prize of the Brazilian Presidency under the category "Poverty Reduction". In the picture, former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff gives the prize to Nereide Segala, a farmer who was involved in the early development and testing of the MAIS Leite system. In 2017, MAIS won the UNDP/SEBRAE "INCLUIR" prize as "Best Rural Impact Business", selected from 850+ initiatives
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Family farmers produce 67% of bovine milk in Brazil, emitting large amounts of GHG. Climate change and deforestation are rising temperatures and reducing precipitation at the national level. Family farmers are the most vulnerable climate group with very limited adaptation means. Without interventions, milk supplies are expected to decrease in volume and to increase in fluctuation with serious socioeconomic impacts for the whole dairy value chain. It is urgent to find scalable resilience solutions for milk producers.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
The MAIS is a customized program that creates climate resilience among milk suppliers by (i) increasing milk yields; (2) decreasing production oscillations; (3) restoring ecosystem services through silvipastoral systems.
Technical, economic and climatic criteria help identifying the technologies that compose the MAIS, that is then implemented in the milk suppliers through a corporate or public program structured as: 1) a customized technical assistance program to achieve the client’s objectives; 2) A farmers’ capitalization program based on the farm assets optimization and the design of a specific credit program; 3) the MAISoft monitoring system to evaluate the farms’ evolution.
The MAIS increases suppliers’ income, regenerates ecosystem services and optimizes value chains viability by reducing the suppliers’ production oscillations and increasing tax revenues to the public sector.
The MAIS Leite has been initially developed for semiarid Brazil but can be adjusted to any bioma.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
The MAIS (Modulo Agroclimatico Inteligente e Sustentável) model had been gradually implemented, tested and refined on 650+ farms in partership with two farmers cooperatives in semiarid Bahia, Brazil, over a variable period of 12 to 26 months through seed fundings from several donors (Brazilian and Bahia Government, Inter-American Development Bank). Main results achieved so far:
• Increase the average production from 65 to 90 liters/day (27% increase)
• Increase net earnings per family from R$ 650 to R$ 1,200 per month (85% increase)
• Reducing production oscillations by 30%
• Fostering local economic development through R$ 15000 investment in technology per farmer
• Reducing manual work by 4 hours/day/farmer through mechanization
• Delimiting the areas to be restored and protected in 100% of the farms
• Restore degraded pasture land in 100% of the farms
• Specializing one field technician on MAIS system and climate resilience for every 25 farmers
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
80% private contracts
20% public contracts
The MAIS is implemented in diary farms with higher climate vulnerability and that suffer from low productivity, low product quality and high production fluctuation. The MAIS program costs R$ 300/month/farmer but generates 5 times more economic benefits for the industry, 3 for producers and 1.5 for the state. This makes the MAIS system fundable through the economic benefits that it generates.
The commercial pilot has been tested through funding from the Interamerican Development Bank and Bahia State Government on 384 farms. The scaling up will be funded through corporate programs or public policies that benefit from the reduced production oscillations and improved value chain sustainability that the MAIS program delivers.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
We make supply chains more sustainable and resilient for all actors involved.
Our main differences from other players:
- We focus on family farmers and not on mid or large scale producers like PECSA
- We do not rely on public sector money or subsidies, like SENAR and Rural Sustentável, as our costs are covered by the added value we generate in the value chain
- We monitor have independent result verification (none does)
- Integrated system to ensure production over 2 consecutive dry years
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
We improved farmers’ productivity, resilience and environmental footprint since 2006 through isolated actions. Every time we tested an innovation (technology, process, credit, etc.), there was often something missing to make it truly sustainable. The accumulation of experiences made us understand during an internal meeting in 2012 that we had to integrate all the best solutions into one product to solve the different supply problems. To be sustainable, this product (the MAIS) had to create value to all the players that participate in the supply chain, from farmers to processing units.
"MAIS Leite Program" is a unique innovation, as it is based on the integration of processes and technical and financial solutions that overcame existing barriers at different scales and levels. MAIS Leite has been developed and tested in semiarid Brazil but it is adaptable to any biome and conditions.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?
Participated in previous CSV Prize competitions