On November 17 in Brasília, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) and the Odebrecht Foundation signed a Technical Cooperation Agreement designed to benefit the agricultural producers’ cooperatives in Bahia’s Southern Lowlands region through awareness raising, training, trade promotion and intelligence actions, in addition to those designed to attract international partners.
The agreement will initially benefit the Bahia Southern Lowlands Heart of Palm Producers’ Cooperative (Coopalm), the Pratigi Environmental Protection Area Producers’ Cooperative (Cooprap) and the Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Producers’ Cooperative (Coopatan), which gathers 924 families from the rural zone. These cooperatives are partners of the Odebrecht Foundation and are associated with the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Integrated and Sustainable Development Program (PDIS).
The agreement is designed to provide technical support for these cooperatives to penetrate the international market or increase their exports. “Our challenge is to help these producers export,” explained Alessandro Teixeira, President of Apex-Brasil. “The work done with these cooperatives is impressive: people who earned income of R$ 100 or R$ 200 per month now earn R$ 1,500. The children and grandchildren of the farmers, who had abandoned the region to head for the capitals, are now returning,” said Teixeira.
Mauricio Medeiros, Executive Chair of the Odebrecht Foundation, emphasized the importance of the partnership for generating opportunities for the Southern Lowland communities. “We are service providers, and through this agreement, we have found the synergy proving that the dream for a more just Brazil is real,” said Medeiros.
Also participating in the signing event was the Chairman of the Odebrecht Foundation Trustee Board, Norberto Odebrecht, and Vice President of the Social-Production Area of the Odebrecht Foundation, Roberto Lessa, in addition to representatives from Coopalm, Coopatan and Cooprap.
Representatives from Apex-Brasil, the Odebrecht Foundation and members from the cooperatives gathered to sign the Technical Cooperation Agreement. Initially, the products being exported are heart of palm and handicrafts made from piassaba fiber and straw.