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Brazil: Facilitating small producers' access to markets

The Sustainable Rural Development and Competitiveness Project in Ceará, Brazil, strives to increase producers' capacities and open the door to markets. A recent mission demonstrates the project's progress and challenges.

Image of the mission in Brazil

Jean Risopoulos, an expert from the FAO Investment Center based in Panama, visited Brazil last week on a mission to support the implementation of the Sustainable Rural Development and Competitiveness Project in Ceará, which aims to improve the link between smallholders and organized markets, improving their working conditions and helping them design and finance business plans for their products.

Among the various components of the project, this mission focused on Rural Economic Inclusion, working closely with the State Agrarian Development Department (SDA) and the team that directly manages the initiative. According to Risopoulos, "this component had a slower implementation, partly because it proposes a new approach compared to previous projects that were focused on community driven development."

The mission included visits to three sub-projects to evaluate their progress. According to the participants in the mission, the main obstacles include issues related to the taxation of smallholder cooperatives, cash flow constraints, and weak marketing linkages.

At the present time, 264 of the initial target of 282 sub-projects have already received all the necessary permits and are in the process of being implemented, while 90% of the available funds have been allocated and 45% have been distributed to cooperatives and associations. However, only 6% of the latter has gone to service providers, based on a decentralized procurement approach. By the end of April, none of the sub-projects had completed the implementation phase and therefore could not be considered operational. As a result, the mission and the project management unit agreed to monitor the implementation of the business plans more closely, and designed a detailed follow-up action plan with intermediary process-level indicators and quantified targets.

"The project is still underway," stated the expert. "100 sub-projects should be ready to commence operations by the end of July, and the next mission will focus on organizing the project's closure, which is scheduled for April 2019, and initiating the final assessment."

Please note that this article was not originally written in this language.
Author: Agronoticias FAO
Photo Credit: Jean Risopoulos

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