Sweet Success of Sugar Cane Partnerships in Brazil
Case study 31 JUL 2014
Buying sugar cane locally makes business sense, as well as supporting livelihoods in the farms around our operations.
An increasing number of the farmers who grow sugar cane in the fields surrounding our Ypióca distillery in Brazil are becoming our 'parceiros' - our third-party supply partners. It is an arrangement that suits both sides: we want to buy high-quality sugar cane with the lowest possible haulage costs, and the farmers want a reliable, fair market for their produce. By ensuring an income to farmers around our operations, we are also making a contribution to the community in which we work.
Partnerships have to be based on trust if they are to be sustainable. Our 'Parceria para o Crescimento' (Partner for Growth) programme gives farmers access to agricultural inputs, technical support, and a fair price for their sugar cane. Accurate cane weight recording, correct invoicing, and prompt payment for the cane delivered to the Ypióca distillery have been essential in fostering transparency and trust.
Luciano Almeida dos Santos, a long-term 'parceiro' of Ypióca, comments on the programme: 'Ypióca has greatly improved its relationship with us as "parceiros" and deserves the trust which we have in the company. The assistance which Ypióca provides us contributes to further development and improvements within our region.'
The parceiros are also invited to three open days each year, where the agenda includes updates on distillery activities, discussions, and demonstrations of agricultural improvements on Ypióca's Santa Eliza farm. In the long term, we aim to buy 30-35% of our sugar cane from local farmers - guaranteeing that this partnership is truly sustainable.