Union Makes a Difference

Father and son, share a passion for working the land and are currently changing their family’s history through their participation in Odebrecht Foundation initiatives in Bahia’s Southern Lowlands

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Antônio Nascimento Santos and Antônio Nascimento Santos Filho have more than their last name in common. The father and son also share a love for working the land. “Agriculture is my life; it’s my business,” said the 19-yearold youth. Residents of the Margarida Alves settlement, located in the municipality of Ituberá, in Bahia, these rural producers are changing the family’s history.

In 2009, Antônio Filho joined the Igrapiúna Rural Family Home (CFR-I) and, after three years, is completing his training. During this period, he had access to topics such as rural administration, soils, perennial crops, soils and the processing of animal and plantbased products, in addition to the basic concepts of cooperativism, environmental education and youth leadership. “The passage through CFR-I gave me a new perspective on life and changed my opinion with relation to agriculture and the opportunities found in the field,” said the youth.

That same year, his father joined the Bahia Southern Lowlands Heart of Palm Producers’ Cooperative (COOPALM) and since then has developed his own heart of palm plantation. “We plant and harvest and the cooperative sells it,” he said. “We see the return from our work; we feel like we own it and we feel stronger, since we aren’t alone.” Union makes a difference.” Like CFR-I, COOPALM is an institution tied to the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Integrated and Sustainable Development Program (PDIS), supported by the Odebrecht Foundation.

Father and son then began to work together cultivating the heart of palm. Gradually, the young man introduced the new planting techniques he had learned, helping to boost the family’s productivity. “My father raised us on what he learned from my grandfather,” he said. “Now, I’m having the opportunity to teach him lots of things. We are great partners,” said the youngest of the three Santos boys, who is not the family’s only producer. His older brother always worked in the field and currently owns his
own property.

Antônio Filho is following in the footsteps of his brother. With the support of COOPALM, he planted one hectare and a half of heart of palm and now cares for his own cultivation. The new rural entrepreneur also plans to join the cooperative. “I want to increase my property, and I always try to apply the knowledge I acquire at CFR-I,” he said. His father also believes in this path: “I am happy to have my sons working the land,” he said. “We get everything we need from the country.”

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