Brazil (Local)

Implementing Organisation:

Adapta Sertão


2018 – now

In a nutshell

The initial idea to create a solid and replicable strategy to help small family farmers living in fragile biomes in Brazil and to support the adaption to climate change was developed by Adapta Sertão, one of the first multi-stakeholder coalitions in the Brazilian territory.

By joining forces with the Adapta group, which has been created in 2018, they transformed a program called Modulo Agroclimático Inteligente e Sustentável (MAIS) into an impact business that is available to corporate clients, public and financial institutions as well as non-governmental organizations. The MAIS program aims at training farmers on how to generate satisfactory incomes even during drought-intensive periods using alternative farming methods across value chains.

The founders of the Adapta group have practical experience on working with farming families living in areas of high climatic vulnerability for more than a decade and engaged over 650 farmers. To enhance climate resilience, the MAIS program integrates the recovery of ecosystem services with agricultural production while additionally promoting gender equality.

Moreover, it builds on a shared vision of the problem and its solution and helps to transform markets to become more sustainable and fair. Besides that, the Adapta group cooperates with financial institutions to help structure specific credit mechanisms for the family farmers and to develop the farms into sustainable agricultural businesses.


In recent years, Brazil has become the world’s largest exporter of soybeans, coffee, and sugar, as well as one of the largest overall food producer on the planet. The majority of the Brazilian staples is produced by family farmers, which also produce more than 70% of food consumed domestically. The agricultural sector as a whole constitutes nearly 6% of Brazil’s total GDP (without considering other players of the food value chain) and employs nearly 16% of their total labor force. Nevertheless, international monitoring organizations assert that a third of Brazil’s population is food insecure and have difficulty meeting their nutrition needs. It is alarming that Brazil’s agricultural sector and deforestation account for 75% of its greenhouse gas emissions.


The goal of the MAIS program is to implement sustainable and climate resilient agricultural practices in the most diverse biomes and agricultural value chains in Brazil. The Adapta group campaigns for an inclusion of family farmers in structured value chains with a focus on climate resilience, sustainability and economic viability for all the actors involved.

Key Interventions

Farm Level:

  • Analysing the local situation and presenting the most suitable agroecological, climate-friendly solutions to the farmers directly
  • Offering assistance to farmers by providing and coordinating a multidisciplinary technical team which supports the implementation of practices on the farm
  • Monitoring technical, social, economic and environmental performance of each farm and program through the web-based MAISoft System, which offers open access to farmers data and impact report in order to enhance transparency
  • Developing individual business plans and setting up credit mechanisms to help farmers access the required capital for implementing the proposed solutions
  • Supporting the farmers in an effective deployment of capital by providing direct consultation through a technician

Lessons Learned/challenges

Overall, the MAIS program increased farmers’ dairy production by 63% and their income by 204%. Furthermore, the program resulted in a 30% improvement in pastureland and a 50% decrease in the water footprint of the areas’ farms. In addition, over 3 tons of CO2 is estimated to be offset for each hectare of restored pastureland. So far, ADAPTA has been active on farm level and engaged in socio-economic aspects such as the support of regional value generation and the development of trading relationships with local growers.

Nevertheless, potential involvement could be seen in the support of healthy, diversified and culturally appropriate diets. In order to widen their positive influence and results, ADAPTA would have to start engaging on a policy level by fostering responsible, transparent and inclusive governance mechanisms such as the recognition of traditional rights over natural resources or payments for ecosystem services, biodiversity-friendly agricultural regulations and subsidies.

Relevant Links & references