Founded by family farmers on July 18, 2000 with the support of the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) and the Odebrecht Foundation, the Cooperative of Rural Producers of Presidente Tancredo Neves (Coopatan), based in the municipality of Bahia that gives its name to the institution, celebrates its 20th anniversary. Only in June, more than 330 tons of food were produced by 136 members, who produced in the month, three times more than in the same period last year, in addition to record sales in the first half of the year, exceeding R$ 9 million.
These good results not only promoted the economic development of Bahia’s Low Lands and increased the income of the 345 cooperative members, but also show that the cooperative model can work with the commitment of the members and the necessary conditions for agricultural production. “Even in this moment of crisis, we are living, we manage to maintain our deliveries, and this brings confidence to the retail chain, besides showing the quality and strength of family agriculture”, said Juscelino Macedo, president of Coopatan and one of the institution’s founders.
Contributing significantly with the supply of supermarkets in Bahia, a State that shelters the largest number of rural properties in the country and whose family agriculture is responsible for 70% of the food consumed, according to the Department of Rural Development (SDR), Coopatan sells 16 raw products, such as cassava, pineapple and avocado, and cassava flour, tapioca and other processing forms. As Plantains, the institute’s main product, are sold raw and in chips, it gained prominence after its price quote became a reference by the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock (FAEB).
Marcos Pereira, a cooperative farmer for 17 years, says that Coopatan’s first years were difficult, but that the union of the members and the constant search for new partners and qualification made the cooperative a reference in the region. “We have been growing and changing our reality. We have become big and we have real gains,” he said. Currently with more than 12 commercial partners, such as Big Group and Atacarejo, we also participate in projects such as Bahia Produtiva, carried out by Companhia de Desenvolvimento e Ação Regional (CAR), a public company related to SDR. “We are very happy to complete 20 years making operational and modernizing our productive and agro-industrial base, acquiring equipment and preparing ourselves for a new cycle of business maturity, with the expansion of new markets”, emphasized Macedo.
As a partner of the Odebrecht Foundation in carrying out the PDCIS, a social program that promotes sustainable territorial development of Bahia’s Low Lands since 2003, Coopatan has been able to significantly increase productivity rates in the region by offering guidance for production planning and technical assistance to its members, being 100% family farmers. “By working synergistically with the local community and institutions such as Coopatan, which has been showing year after year its relevance for the growth of a region with social vulnerability, we have strengthened our program in the search for effective transformation in people’s lives,” said Fabio Wanderley, the Foundation’s superintendent, when congratulating the partner cooperative for their two decades of operations.
– In 2015, the cooperative began to have a new cassava flour plant, being considered at the time the largest plant in the North and Northeast region and one of the most modern in the country.
– Since 2017, it has been awarded the Abrinq Foundation’s seal of Empresa Amiga da Criança* Program for its commitment to childhood and adolescence. (*companies committed to guaranteeing the rights of children and adolescents)
– In 2018, it presented its experience in family agriculture at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Turin, Italy, which gathered farmers, chefs, academics and young people from 150 countries.
– In 2020, it became a reference in Plantains price quote by the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of Bahia, alongside major players such as JBS, Barry Callebaut and Blend Coffee.