The cooperatives supported by the Odebrecht Foundation through the PDCIS Program presented a balance sheet for their actions in 2015. With approximately 800 family farmer members, the Bahia Southern Lowlands Heart of Palm Producers' Cooperative (COOPALM), Continental Water Aquaculturists' Cooperative (COOPECON) and Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Producers' Cooperative (COOPATAN) helped boost the region's rural activity and recorded earnings of approximately R$ 50 million.
From Heart of Palm to Biodiesel
For COOPALM, the year consolidated its position as Brazil's largest cultivated and certified heart of palm producer cooperative, based on data disclosed by the Bahia State Cooperatives' Organization. In 2015, some 450 cooperative family farmers produced more than 620 t of heart of palm, with earnings higher than R$ 25 million.
COOPECON became the first cooperative in Bahia in the aquaculture sector to sell fish oil for biodiesel production. Currently a member of the Brazilian Federal Government's National Biodiesel Production Program (PNPB), the institution signed a contract with Petrobras that will make it possible to sell 130 tons of oil per year. “Besides increasing our earnings, we are also contributing toward more sustainable energy," said Marcelo Costa, Executive Director of COOPECON. Last year, the cooperative reached the mark of R$ 12.5 million in earnings and added approximately 70 family aquaculturist members.
At the same time, 2015 was also marked by an important event for COOPATAN: its new manioc flour factory was inaugurated and is already the largest in Brazil's North and Northeast Regions and one of the most modern in the country. Built with resources granted by the Technical and Financial Cooperation Agreement signed between Brazil's National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) and the Odebrecht Foundation, it involved a R$ 5.8 million investment. Made up of 290 member family farmers, last year it recorded revenues of approximately R$ 11 million, with production of approximately 7,800 t of food.