The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a multi-sectoral movement comprising more than 350 members from the private sector, finance, the academia, and civil society organizations, considers as positive the release of the public consultation on Bioeconomy and Regional Sustainable Development Program (BioRegio). This initiative is in tune with the Coalition’s proposals to promote the development of a National Policy on Bioeconomy. This was initially advocated in 2021, and was also presented in the document ” The Brazil of Tomorrow: proposals for the country’s agro-environmental agenda from now on“, submitted to the new administration’s transition team with 33 proposals for the next four years.
During the public consultation, we focused input on the program’s targets, with special attention to the bioeconomy concept. The Coalition’s proposed bioeconomy explores the interface between agriculture, livestock, and forests, aiming to scale up sustainable and biodiverse production systems that induce zero deforestation and foster landscape restoration, soil regeneration, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem service valuation, and agricultural efficiency. As it is essential for socioeconomic inclusion of traditional communities and family farmers, and the income generation for the entire rural areas and forests in Brazil.
We also emphasize the importance of prioritizing the bioeconomy of forest and agroforestry systems in Brazil, at different scales and including multiple sectors and stakeholders involved in the production chain, especially indigenous peoples, quilombolas, traditional communities and family farmers.
While BioRegio indicates, in an innovative way, the bioeconomy as a strategic agenda for national mobilization, it is necessary to improve coordination and articulation for its implementation. Not all topics proposed fall under the exclusive domain of the Ministry of Integration and Regional Development (MIDR, in Portuguese acronym). Therefore, it is important to highlight the need for greater inter-ministerial coordination, recognizing the existing policies, instruments, and initiatives, integrating and scaling them, avoiding the overlapping of efforts.
Additional important aspects that should be clearly stated in the specific objectives are sustainable local development, especially the Local Productive Arrangements (APLs), which need to be reinforced; the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from access to genetic heritage and associated traditional knowledge; circular economy; and the commitment of zero deforestation and carbon neutrality achievement.
Also, it is important to underline that regional development based on bioeconomy requires a local perspective and an adaptation of value chains, according to families’ and communities’ capacities and needs. To this end, it is necessary to invest in decentralized infrastructure and logistics, in the training of bioeconomy professionals in all areas, in qualifying technical assistance in all relevant aspects, and in tax policy reform aimed at the transition to a sustainable and inclusive bioeconomy, among other measures.
The innovation aspect also needs to be incorporated, in a way that adds value in the territory, by encouraging research and development of local technologies for processing, distribution, and advertising of bioeconomy and socio-bioeconomy products.
Lastly, it is essential to stress that the private sector’s engagement is crucial, in such a way as to bring public policies in line with the interests and priority opportunities for business in each region. For this program to be comprehensive, it is necessary to include all productive sectors, including forest plantations, which have an intrinsic connection with the topic and offer a range of opportunities for job and income generation, including those related to innovation and with extensive experience and potential in restoration.
The country is fully capable of becoming a leading player in a new bioeconomy if it joins the responsible use of the biodiversity in its biomes with the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, quilombolas and traditional communities, the capital of small farmers and the powerful innovative capacity of Brazilian companies in the forestry and agricultural sectors.
To materialize such potential, the State’s role in coordinating public policies and incentive programs for the bioeconomy is essential. The country must strategically articulate a National Policy on Bioeconomy, as it has been discussed in the National Congress, that adds up interests and leads the path to achieve the so desired sustainable development, with low carbon emissions, conservation of biodiversity and eradication of extreme poverty.
The proposals for the Public Consultation were discussed and endorsed by the Coalition’s Bioeconomy Task Force and submitted to the Ministry of Integration and Regional Development (MIDR) through the Participa+ Brasil system.