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Quilombola agriculture in Vale do Ribeira - SP: comparisonbetween shifting and permanent agriculture

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Daniela Ianovali
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Cristina Adams; Carlos Armênio Khatounian; Paulo Eduardo Moruzzi Marques
Advisor: Cristina Adams

The shifting cultivation system (SCS), one of the oldest forms of agriculture, is still practiced by quilombola communities in the Vale do Ribeira - SP. However, current restrictions of the Brazilian environmental legislation, increased market integration, and the influence of institutions and public policies, are among the main reasons for the decrease in this practice. The production of SCS for domestic consumption is being replaced by permanent and commercial cultivation of peach palm, supported by government incentives such as financial claims and specialized technical assistance. This project aimed to assess the productivity of the different cultivation systems and between areas under different fallow lenghts, discussing the reasons and the impacts of this transition, its sustainability and economic impacts for communities. The household was used as the unit of analysis for social work organization; for each activity we recomposed the technical itinerary through semi-structured interviews and field visits; to estimate the remuneration capacity of the different farming systems used the added net value. During eleven months we monitored the implementation of the cultivated fields for domestic consumption and the management of permanent cultivation of peach palm. Our results showa tendency for lower worktime in fields with younger fallows (10-15 years) when compared to older ones (25 years).However, due to the small sample size after the abandonment of the fields by some farmers it was not possible to test its significance. As for the evaluation of productivity between the two different systems, permanent agriculture was more efficient in terms of income and the use of labor than SCS. However, when the multifunctionality of agriculture is considered, SCS plays a role not only in food and fiber production, but is also part of a complex socio-environmental relations that include the maintenance of cultural diversity, agrobiodiversity and environmental preservation. (AU)