Gebana Brazil produces soya oil from GM-free, organically grown soya beans cultivated in the hinterlands of the Iguazu River. The beans are transported to Capanema where the oil is extracted by mechanical pressing, then filtered, degummed and shipped to Europe.
We’ve been working with Gebana since 2006. It comprises around 350 families – mostly smallholder farmers. Soya farming is one of the major contributors to deforestation in Brazil. Gebana supports more sustainable farming methods.
Most of the local farmers’ income comes from selling soya, but they grow other crops and vegetables for sale and family consumption. Unlike big monocultures common in other regions in Brazil, Gebana promotes small properties with high levels of biodiversity.
Farmers in Capanema have been passionate about organic farming for decades. They say how they noticed a marked improvement in their health as soon as they stopped working with chemicals and pesticides.
Gebana has stood firm against the spread of GM crops, though they’re more lucrative. “It is not natural and is not good for the community or the environment. (GM farming) endangers nature and harms our health,” says Alberto Fritzen, a Gebana farmer.
On top of the price of the soya oil, The Body Shop pays Gebana a premium which has financed training programmes in organic farming techniques, organic certification and bulk purchase of organic fertiliser. Gaining Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) certification is just one of its many successes.
Capanema, Parana, Brazil
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