Program will also expand water and sanitation systems in the countryside
WASHINGTON, June 27 2014 – More than 56,000 families (approximately 200,000 people) will benefit from a US$ 150 million loan approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors. The Bahia Sustainable Rural Development Project will provide assistance for small rural producers to increase their outputs and access markets. It will also support the economic integration of traditionally marginalized groups such as households headed by single women, indigenous communities and quilombola communities of afro-descendants.
Bahia is home to the largest population of extremely poor people in Brazil (3.5 million people), with an incidence especially high in its rural areas (1.54 million). Approximately 20% of Brazil’s rural population lives in Bahia, where small-scale family farming productivity is low and lacks modern techniques to increase its production. Moreover, recent severe droughts have further hit crops.
“Family agriculture is one of the pillars of rural economy in our state”, said Jaques Wagner, Governor of the State of Bahia. “This project was designed to help the small producers adopt modern tools to increase their production and therefore to have equal chances of competing in bigger markets. Furthermore, the Project will be essential to promote transformation that will allow the rural population to find pathways out of poverty, with better access to water and sanitation and reducing dependence on government transfers.”
Important players in family farming households, women and youth are still underpaid and have weak representation in the rural market. Among the cooperatives, women are still the minority of workers (37.1%). They also are less likely to be paid for their work. By increasing production, the project aims to promote equal opportunities for women and the young populations, helping avoid the migration of the latter.
Another program priority is integrating these communities to the State Water Supply Network. In 2010, only 38.9% of households were connected to the state system and only 6.9% of the rural population had access to adequate sewage.
“Promoting productive inclusion and market integration of rural producers are key elements to help the poor exit from extreme poverty and this can only become a reality if low income people and vulnerable groups have equal economic opportunities,” said Deborah L. Wetzel, World Bank Director for Brazil. “These are the project’s core goals.”
Among the outcomes supported by the Project are:
- Adoption of modern technologies and tools to increase productivity, promoting environmentally sustainable technologies among small producers;
- Promotion of productive inclusion through the stimulation of entrepreneurship and initiatives to increase small producers’ access to commercial markets;
- Linking farmers to markets in order to raise incomes and reduce agriculture vulnerability;
- Engaging more women, youth, indigenous and other traditional communities in the rural work market;
- Improving access to water and sanitation, notably increasing the number of families connected to the State Water Supply Network;
- Adopting innovative techniques for the efficient use of scarce water and natural resources;
- Supporting Government actions to strengthen territorial development;
- Increasing public technical assistance coverage for small farmers; and
- Improving investments in productive infrastructure and logistics
This loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to the State of Bahia is guaranteed by the Federative Republic of Brazil and has a final maturity of 30 years including a grace period of 4.5 years.