Providing water in northeast Brazil
In 2003, the Government of Brazil launched the Zero Hunger Programme, aimed at eliminating hunger and malnutrition in the country. One of the most food-insecure parts of the country is in the "Dois Irmaos", a dry area in the northeast that runs along the border between the Bahia and Piaui regions. Securing water for human consumption, livestock and irrigation is a major development challenge. The Brazilian Government's request for assistance referred specifically to financing and building cisterns to store rainwater.
When it became clear that this would not be sufficient for the community's needs, the project was designed with three interrelated components:
- institutional and technical support - working through farmers' groups and women's associations to help farmers shift from subsistence farming to more market-oriented activities
- rainwater harvesting - constructing cisterns and other water-harvesting systems, such as subsurface dams
- training - providing training in basic farming and irrigation techniques, food hygiene, poultry and goat production, apiculture and marketing.
FAO and the Italian regions of Tuscany and Piedmont will support the project, which will benefit the poorest farmers of the Dois Irmaos area.