Best Environmental Sustainability Initiative
Canaoeste is the Association of Sugarcane Producers in the west of the state of São Paulo. It represents and defends the rights and interests of sugarcane producers at industrial and governmental levels.
It is running this project in collaboration with GMG Ambiental, an organisation whose mission is to fight plantation fires. Their satellite tool is now monitoring over 120,000 hectares.
In recent years, the problems surrounding fires in Brazil have worsened due to changes in weather conditions (high temperatures, low air humidity, strong winds), causing significant losses for both rural producers and the environment.
Purpose of the Project
SOS Fire aims to combat fires in areas of sugarcane and native vegetation on rural properties, by building a network of approximately 3,000 rural properties with fire control equipment.
The program includes a Mutual Assistance Plan, through which Canaoeste assists and engages industrial units and rural farmers in fighting fires near their properties. A 24-hour telephone service and a satellite fire-monitoring centre allow firefighting teams to be deployed.
Canaoeste has invested in technology with GMG Ambiental to detect fires on farms. It is the first association in Brazil to use this system.
This project is offered to all Canaoeste Associates (over 2,000), covering an area of approximately 120,000 hectares across the West of the São Paulo state.
Why this project?
This project began as a pilot, during which more than 3,000 property areas were registered. Although there was a fire monitoring system in place, the team lacked information on the farmers’ resources to combat fires.
The team launched SOS Fires and collected as much information as possible to create a large database and network. At first, the team had to address the farmers’ reluctance and convince them of the robustness of the system. Once they demonstrated it, farmers came on board; and they are now able to identify who can fight fires in the quickest way and mobilise them.
“Wonderful innovative project, impacting a large group of farmers and addressing an important threat to ecosystems and people”
Comment from the Inspire Awards judges
Impacts of the Project
SOS Fires has had positive impacts across the sustainability tripod.
By preventing fires from reaching large areas of sugarcane and native vegetation, it is protecting local fauna and flora, and preventing new GHG emissions. Overall the project has driven a shift in the participating producer’s relationship with the environment, demonstrating their concern for and interest in protecting natural areas.
The project also addresses the economic impacts of fires on rural producers and avoids significant air pollution from the fires.
“The Mutual Assistance Plan is very important as we are informed 24 hours a day and can take measures as soon as we know about a fire. For example, when a large fire reached my farm in 2020, four firefighters were already here to address it.”
Moisés Joaquim Batista – rural producer in Pitangueiras
“With the system in operation, we managed to speed up the firefighting at the source of a fire, and to reduce the number of fire outbreaks, avoiding fines for rural producers, as fires can be extinguished before taking large proportions.”
Gustavo Guimarães Lamonato – rural producer in Jardinópolis