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Qualitative goals

A new monitoring system based on an Intranet and the Internet is going to permit the assessment of agricultural policy results carried by the Department of Agriculture and Provisions of the State of São Paulo, which is going through a phase of re-structuring. The project is being developed by researchers from Embrapa Satellite Monitoring, with the support of FAPESP, and should generate indicators of social and environmental impact that will allow for the measuring of the efficiency of the nine main programs implemented by the secretary. The forecast is that within a year and a half, the system will be totally implanted in the capital and in the 40 regions distributed throughout the State.

“The department set up a program that is not exclusively based on qualitative goals of agricultural production, but on social and environmental indicators. What is being attempted is to create jobs opportunities in order to halt rural evasion, to increase the value of agricultural production and at the same time to look after the preservation of river basins, to conserve the soil etc.”, says the project's coordinator, Evaristo Eduardo de Miranda, of Embrapa.

The partnership with the university brought with it the necessary scientific support for this change of direction. The project aims to provide agile tools, capable of measuring the real impacts of these programs on the improvement in the standard of living of the field worker. For this, it is necessary to know in detail the particularities of each region. Agriculture is an activity that covers the major part of the State territory, is widely diversified, operates under conditions of infrastructure that vary considerably from region to region and that have environmental aspects to be considered. “It was necessary to develop methods that take into consideration this spatial diversity and as well the dynamics of the agricultural activity” states Miranda.

The project was planned in the form of a site, so that the information would be available to professionals and also to the general public – the population can give opinions, from their point of view, through the department's site, which will allow for checking to see if the ongoing programs are tuned in to the reality of the countryside. The mapping of the situation throughout the State is being done by the regional offices of the department which are going to feed a central data bank via the Internet in a systematized and standardized form. Within six months, some information will already be available for the general public, but the forecast for complete mapping is for one and a half years.

The program will have a friendly interface, both in an Intranet, to facilitate the work of feeding the system, and through the Internet, for data consultation. It has also been planned to allow for the analysis of a specific situation such as, for example, amunicipality or a region, andalso comprehensive information gathered throughout thewhole of the State. “For example, it will be possible to know the advances in the generation of jobs in the city of Avaré or what is being done to improve the standard of living in Bauru or even what is happening in the Tietê river basin”, Miranda says.

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