Sebastião Gomes and his father Genésio believed in technology and invested in several hydroponic greenhouses in the city of Agudo in Rio Grande do Sul state. Since 2009 they grow lettuce, cress, arugula, parsley and chives.
In hydroponic systems the plants are not grown in soil. The plants are located in tubes where they are supplied with a constant flow of nutrients and water. Sebastião and his father own five greenhouses equipped with hydroponic systems by now.
Still many neighbors are more than skeptical towards their project. However, their success shows father and son that they are on the right track. Sebastião tried very hard to form partnerships with supermarkets in bigger cities such as Santa Maria or Porto Alegre. With a lot of persistence he gained their confidence and now supplies multinational chains such as Walmart.
Satisfying these large supermarket chains is not always easy. He has to comply with strict production and logistics norms. Still Sebastião is proud of what he and his father have achieved.
“People which work for many years in the tobacco production become narrow-minded and don’t see any alternatives” explains Sebastião and refers to the resistance against innovation and new production methods in rural areas such as Agudo.
As a farmer who himself grew tobacco for many years Sebastião and his father know what they are talking about. They, however, decided to escape the tobacco business which demands a lot of manpower but increasingly unfair payments.