New rural entrepreneurs

The Education-Production Project, developed by the Odebrecht Foundation, is training new rural entrepreneurs in Bahia’s Baixo Sul region

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Cultivate the earth and observe the fruits it bears. For Erivaldo de Jesus, age 19, there is nothing better than watching these phases. The graduate of the Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Family Home (CFR-PTN) is a farmer and has chosen his life trade. “I don’t see myself doing anything else,” he said. A resident of the community of Quebra Machado, located in the municipality of Valença, in Bahia’s Southern Lowlands, the producer is cultivating manioc with the support of his father, Manuel de Jesus. “I found my partner at home,” he explained.

Erivaldo is the youngest in the family and was the only of four brothers to remain in the country with his parents. According to the young man, his father wanted his sons to stay close by, but there were no opportunities. “We were encouraged to go to the city,” he recalls. “The image of farming was always associated with those who never studied. I am an example of the fact that this isn’t true. It is possible to stay in the countryside and have a good quality of life,” guaranteed the new rural entrepreneur, who plans to complete the Agronomy course to continue with his studies.

The partnership between father and son has been plentiful. With a wide smile on his face, on March 28, Erivaldo made the first delivery of manioc root to the Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Producers’ Cooperative (COOPATAN), an institution that, similarly to CFR-PTN, is associated with the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Integrated and Sustainable Development Program (PDIS), supported by the Odebrecht Foundation. Erivaldo joined COOPATAN 11 months ago. “I’m happy to see that he is a young intelligent man dedicated to agriculture,” said his father.

Mariza da Silva, age 20, is another example of a young person who is becoming a rural entrepreneur. The resident of Tanque Grande, municipality of Teolândia, is developing her second Educational-Production Project and plans to join COOPATAN. “When my production is high enough, I will become a member,” said Silva, also a member of CFR-PTN. “I want to buy another piece of land and apply what I learned,” she said.

Wagner Mendes, age 17, has the same wish. The Presidente Tancredo Neves producer wants to continue with the project he began at the Family Home. “I am a rural entrepreneur,” he said. “I want to stay here, in my region.”

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