Promoting smallholders’ organic conversion and market access

Over the last decades, our agri-food value chains have been predominantly characterized by the production and distribution of conventional products through long supply chains and based on productivist models. Under the prerogative of delivering products at low costs, this configuration involves aspects such as low appreciation of family farming, little transparency, favoring conventional food production with consequent environmental and health impacts, and concentration of power. This logic has resulted in the intensification of inequalities in rural areas and in the reduction of access to healthy food, especially organic food, considered today as niche products. 

Organic agriculture is a production management system that opposes the conventional model in several aspects, and is a promising way to guarantee availability and access to healthy food and, at the same time, the conservation of natural resources. Strengthening the organic food value chain has great potential to make our food systems fairer, more democratic and more resilient. 

In this sense, the search for more sustainable agri-food systems invariably involves strengthening family farming. In addition to producing essential food for the food and nutrition security of the population, these farmers have valuable knowledge and practices for the conservation of biodiversity and other ecosystem services. 

In dialogue with this theme, the project aims to promote organic conversion among smallholders and strengthen the organic food value chain in Brazil, considering principles of fair trade, environmental conservation, and food and nutritional security

Project Overview


Front 1:  Organic conversion and market access


  • Prepare and engage cooperatives in the project’s organic conversion activities. 
  • Promote businesses between cooperatives and potential buyers (retailers, food industries, municipalities, consumer groups etc.). 


  • Partnership with technical assistance and rural extension organization;  
  • Interviews and field trips to identify cooperatives interested in participating in a cycle of workshops and receiving technical assistance for organic conversion and market access; 
  • Conduction of a cycle of workshops on organic conversion process and management practices with participant cooperatives; 
  • Preparation of the cooperatives – definition of negotiation strategy and product portfolio, communication strategies, etc.; 
  • Arrangement of meetings between cooperatives and potential buyers.  


  • Cooperatives engaged in the project and in their organic conversion processes; 
  • Business plans for the participant cooperatives;  
  • Cooperatives and potential buyers in contact in order to build commercial partnerships; 

Front 2: Network engagement 


  • Create a network with relevant actors from the organic food value chain in order to expand the dialogue and build solutions to this market’s challenges. 


  • Map and mobilize actors from the food value chain that are relevant to the promotion of organic conversion (public agents, financial institutions, certification agents, researchers, retailers etc.);  
  • Conduct a cycle of workshops to discuss the challenges related to issues such as: smallholder organic conversion, market qualification and relationship between smallholders and buyers. 


  • Set of recommendations for the promotion of smallholder organic conversion and the strengthening of the organic food sector as a whole. The recommendations will be published in 2022 and are organized into three priority themes.   
  • Technical assistance and rural extension for organic conversion  
  • Suitable markets for organic smallholders and smallholders in organic conversion process 
  • Strengthening of policies that promote the organic food value chain 



Promoting conversion to organic production by family farmers: recommendations for the chain (in portuguese)

The document brings together recommendations to make the food chain more favorable to the process of conversion to organic production by family farmers. This content is the result of a collective construction process involving more than 70 representatives from various organizations and actors linked to the organic farming agenda.

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Converte-se Project: Promoting smallholders’ organic conversion and market

The publication presents the activities, discussions and results of the 'Converte-se Project: Promoting smallholders’ organic conversion and market', carried out by the FGVces Centre for Sustainability Studies between 2021 and 2022, with the aim of promoting the conversion of smallholders to organic production and contributing to making the organic food chain more favourable to this process.

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  • Carrefour Brazil
  • Carrefour Foundation