Growing Stories – Silvan

The planted tree industry continues to change lives. In this second episode of #GrowingStories we will meet Silvan, a rural farmer in the community of Bela Vista, Nova Viçosa, Bahia; illegal charcoal production used to be common in this region, but today the community grows and sells produce with support from the planted tree sector. 


This house…. This house has a story, about life.
I said to my wife: let’s move to Bela Vista?

For thirty years, illegal charcoal production was the main economic activity in this region.

This used to be the charcoal region in the far south of Bahia. 

Accidents, obviously, people were maimed, people worked at night.
Imagine, there were charcoal kilns that made a meter of charcoal. At that time, one meter of charcoal was 100 reais. The police identified the kilns in the communities, wherever they saw smoke they landed their helicopter and destroyed the kilns.
So what happened was that it all stopped and there was no more money in the region, not just in the community, but in the region.

My name is Silvan João dos Santos, and I am very proud to be a farmer here in my community of Bela Vista.

The focus in getting the project established was our own consumption, planting what we eat, and the neighboring communities and the local fairs.
The company, our partner, was like the parent of the family agriculture project here in the community. 
I had a bit of experience with passionfruit, but none with vegetables. Other people went with pumpkins, watermelon…
Today we have 42 members.

The community grows and sells its products through a loan for use from the planted tree sector.

Because each beneficiary delivers the product to the association and the association sells their products, the money goes into the bank account and later is divided up within the community.
Today we have contracts with restaurants. Three times a week, they buy the products we grow through the project…
The state government in Salvador knows about the Bela Vista association, it was planned within a project for production in Bahia.
The project has brought quality of life for the community in Bela Vista.
Our partner always says: Think big, because you’re not just one person, you’re a community. If many heads together think positively, you will go very far.

More than 1.5 million people benefit from social and environmental programs in the sector, like this one in the community of Bela Vista.]

Who would have thought I’d be able to do all this with a garden, but I was able to buy a house.

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