Increase in productivity and broader access to water & sanitation expected
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2012 - The World Bank Board of Directors approved today a US$ 100 million loan to stimulate rural production sustainability, increase income generation, and promote universal access to water and sanitation services in the State of Ceará, in Brazil’s Northeast.
The Ceará Rural Sustainable and Competitiveness project will directly benefit 60,000 people living in rural areas.
"The state of Ceará has grown above the national average in recent years. In 2011, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 4.3 percent, while Brazil’s average was 2.7 percent. This mainly relates to public investments made by the State Government, including projects focused on agriculture that guarantee water supply to small farmers. Investments in this area have led to employment and income increase. The World Bank has been a great partner in this achievement,” said the Governor of Ceará, Cid Gomes.
One of Brazil’s driest states, Ceará faces severe weather conditions, with 87 percent of its territory in semi-arid areas. Frequent prolonged droughts, desertification and occasional flooding have caused major human disasters with huge impacts on agriculture and food production.
Water supply and sanitation are also major concerns. In 2009, 91 percent of the urban population had access to safe water, against only 17 percent in the rural area. In sanitation the figures are more alarming: basic services are available for only 37 percent of urban citizens and 0.20 percent of rural inhabitants.
The State of Ceará aims to extend sustainable development to rural areas to stimulate productivity through, increased investments in water supply and sanitation coverage.
“Having access to essential services and environmentally sound production techniques will not only boost productivity, but help producers better deal with weather constraints, such as dry seasons,” said Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director for Brazil. “This will be essential to put Ceará in a stronger social and economic position.”
Developed to support the Ceará Government Strategic Plan, the project will advance socially inclusive growth and sustainable development through the following actions:
- Raise agricultural production using sustainable technologies, through irrigation and innovative techniques of water reuse in agriculture.
- Improve market access for rural producers
- Distribution of production within the State and regional partners.
- Recovering degraded land.
This Specific Investment Loan of US$ 100 million has a US$ 50 million counterpart contribution, with 25 years of maturity and five year grace period.