Organic veterinarian

Thesis by company director wins Capes Award in the field of environmental sciences

Carreiras_DSCN1887LUIZ DEMATTÊThe experience of people who work in a company that produces chicken meat and eggs using natural or organic agricultural systems was the topic of the doctoral thesis that won the 2015 Capes Award in the field of environmental sciences. Veterinarian Luiz Carlos Demattê Filho, author of the thesis, is industrial director of Korin Agropecuária and coordinator of the Mokiti Okada Research Center. He demonstrated the environmental, social and economic development of the company’s producers and associates. Unlike in traditional facilities, principles of sustainability are the basis of their work: based on a series of differentiations, animals are given no antibiotics, growth promoters or chemical therapies.

“I looked at the multifunctionality of the agriculture sector from the standpoint that it is more than just a business; it is also a social medium that preserves the nature and culture of an agricultural area,” says Demattê, who completed the study in 2014 at age 51. His advisor was Professor Paulo Eduardo Moruzzi Marques in the Interunit Graduate Program for Applied Ecology at the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture of the University of São Paulo (ESALQ-USP). He explains that traditional chicken and egg farms do not use hormones, but they do use antibiotics and other drugs in feed to prevent disease and fatten animals quickly.

From the time he was a student at the university, Demattê always tried to become involved in different methods of production, including organic farming. He began by studying veterinary medicine at São Paulo State University (Unesp) in the city of Botucatu. He graduated in 1986 and worked as a self-employed veterinarian at clinics and stud farms. He was a professor at the University of Marília (Unimar) from 1995 to 1997. “At Unimar I taught classes in the physiology of reproduction and obstetrics. It was an interesting time. I had significant practical experience and the students liked me because I pulled them out of the classroom to go work in the field,” he recalls. From 1994 to 1999, while still teaching, he worked at the Mokiti Okada Foundation to conduct studies in the field of organic agriculture production methods.

In 2000, Demattê moved to Korin and realized that he needed to go back to school. At age 38, he began working on his master’s degree in the field of animal production at Unesp. After that he enrolled in a specialization course in business management at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) in Campinas, focusing again on alternative production of chickens and eggs. “I wanted to learn how to improve productivity without compromising the company’s ideas on natural and organic production, using an agroecological base,” he says. Part of his PhD work at USP was done at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. He believes that universities need even more organic agriculture courses so they can train professionals for this field in which sales, using Korin as an example, are increasing 20 to 25% each year.