Items such as baskets, bags and mandalas made from piassaba straw and fiber in the Bahia Southern Lowlands earned some international attention. The production of 174 members of the Pratigi Environmental Protection Area Rural Producers’ Cooperatives (COOPRAP) was presented during the 16th International Northeast Business Meeting (EINNE) to buyers from 26 countries. EINNE, promoted by the Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Companies (SEBRAE), took place from October 23-25 in Salvador.
COOPRAP – an institution associated with the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS), supported by the Odebrecht Foundation –, was one of the 238 micro and small companies from nine Northeastern states that were present at the event, which sought to increase these institutions’ participation in the global scenario and was also part of SEBRAE’s 40th anniversary celebration. “We want participants to advance not only in terms of the sale of the products, but also in the construction of their relationships with international investors so that foreign entrepreneurs are motivated and convinced to associate with small companies in Bahia and the Northeast,” said Edival Passos, Head of SEBRAE Bahia.
According to Creuza Amorim, artist and President of COOPRAP, the event was a unique opportunity. “Today, we are seeing our handicrafts being recognized as a profession,” said Amorim. “We expect them to become increasingly more valued,” she said. The cooperative’s participation in EINNE is the result of its being awarded the SEBRAE Top 100 Handicraft Award, a distinction that placed the cooperative on the list of Brazil’s best handicraft production units. “The Top 100 is opening up some major business possibilities,” said Wellinton Silva, Leader of the Piassaba Strategic Cooperative Alliance, of which COOPRAP is part. “For the artists it serves as motivation, since it will generate more income,” said Silva.