Past Winners

São Paulo, Brazil : 2016 GRAND PRIZE WINNER

São Paulo: Growing Farmers’ Income, Shrinking Urban Sprawl

  • 11,967,825

    Population (city)
  • 21,090,791

    Population (metro)
  • Bruno Covas

    Mayor
  • Portuguese

    Official Language
  • Directly elected mayor

    Type of Government
  • Additional facts

    São Paulo contributes 12 percent of Brazil’s GDP

The Problem

Although 70 percent of the produce consumed in Brazil comes from family farms, urban sprawl makes it difficult for farmers on the outskirts of São Paulo to sell their produce. Discouraged, many farmers are leaving farming altogether—often selling their land for development, compounding the problem for other farmers and aggravating environmental problems that impact the water supply for 5 million people.

The Innovation

São Paulo’s project is designed to strengthen the local agriculture value chain. At one end, it aims to improve production by empowering local farmers through technical assistance and capacity building. This allows farmers to adopt agroecological farming practices that will increase their revenue and protect vital watershed areas. At the other end of the chain, the project encourages entrepreneurs to start businesses that support farmer’s participation in the value chain.

São Paulo aims to contain the City’s urban sprawl while promoting the sustainable use of rural land. They are training farmers to improve their production processes and raise their income, supporting local cooperatives that connect supply and demand in the agricultural market, and creating create a digital application to facilitate these processes.

The Impact

The city has launched its technical assistance program for farmers with a focus on supporting better production. Farmers participating in the first phase of the program are successfully transitioning from traditional to organic farming and have increased output. Planning for a full expansion of the program is underway.


  • Additional facts

    São Paulo contributes 12 percent of Brazil’s GDP

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