UK ambassador visits rural settlement near Brasilia

Alex Ellis visited the Fazenda Larga settlement, used by the Centre as an example of successful agricultural policy for delegations from developing countries on study visits to Brazil

As part of the partnership between the Centre of Excellence against Hunger and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the British Ambassador in Brazil, Alex Ellis, participated on 20 August in a field visit to a settlement in the rural area of the Federal District. The Fazenda Larga settlement is used by the Centre as an example of successful agricultural policy for delegations from developing countries on study visits to Brazil. 

Besides the ambassador, the director of the Centre of Excellence, Daniel Balaban, and the president of the Company for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension of the Federal District (Emater-DF), Marcelo Piccin, participated in the field visit. The Federal District is the only federal unit that provides technical assistance and rural extension to 100 percent of smallholder farmers and agrarian reform settlers. About 30% of farmers participate in institutional purchasing programmes such as the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA) and the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE). 

Jair Pinto's fish tank

Group visits Mr. Pinto's fish tank

Photo: WFP/Isadora Ferreira


The Fazenda Larga settlement was created in 2003 in an area of 225 hectares, where 83 families reside. The smallholder farmers produce vegetables and fruits and raise poultry, fish and cattle. They sell part of their production to the PAA since 2009, and beginning in 2014 they are also supplying food items to the PNAE. Between 2012 and 2013, farmers of the Fazenda Larga sold 180 tons of food through public procurement. The field visit took place on the property of Jair Francisco Pinto, president of the Association of Producers of Fazenda Larga. 


The families of Fazenda Larga, before being settled, lived in an environmental protection are known as Sucupira Park. When residents of the park were removed in 2003, some of the families requested settlement in a rural area. Despite their lack of experience with agriculture, since most of the residents worked as teamsters and garbage collectors, they decided to invest in agricultural production as a new way of life. 

Over 12 years, the Emater offered training in irrigation, medicinal plants, pesticides, baking, environmental protection, fruits, vegetables, sewing, and others. Farmers arrived at Fazenda Larga with no water, no house and no electricity. Today they have irrigated crops, houses and electric power. "When we came here, we spent six months eating only pumpkin. Children were malnourished. Today we have yogurt, fruit, vegetables, we sell tomatoes, peppers, cassava", said Jair Pinto. 

Jair Pinto's dilapidated house when he arrived at the settlement

Jair Pinto's first house, when he arrived at the settlement

Photo: WFP/Isadora Ferreira

Jair Pinto's current house, fixed up

Jair Pinto's current house

Photo: WFP/Isadora Ferreira


"The idea is that families become increasingly independent from Emater, but the technical assistance is always important, because in addition to supporting productive activities, it also facilitates access to all the public policies available to the families," explained Marcelo Piccin. As the community evolves and expands the use of technology, the type of assistance offered by Emater transforms to address the new needs. 

The Emater encouraged farmers to invest in diversity of production to ensure food security to households and facilitate access to institutional purchase markets. The strategy has produced good results. The community begins to stand out as a producer of fruits and vegetables and to attract buyers, which ensures the income of the families. "What struck me on this visit to Fazenda Larga was what always catches my attention in Brazil: this rapid economic and social transformation," said the ambassador Alex Ellis.