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IFAD Evaluation Committee begins official visit to Brazil

Posted by Greg Benchwick Friday, May 27, 2011

Multinational committee to meet with high-level Brazilian authorities to discuss long-term strategies for rural poverty reduction

IFAD's Evaluation Committee will participate in a series of high-level meetings and field visits in Brazil this week.

The visit will provide committee members representing Burkina Faso, Canada, Holland, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria – IFAD’s board member from Sweden will also take part in the visit - with the opportunity to meet with Brazilian officials and evaluate the impact IFAD’s funding has had in Brazil’s semi-arid northeast.

The visit starts with meetings 30 May with Brazil’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs from the Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management Carlos Vidotto, and Minister of Agrarian Development Alfonso Florence.

On the afternoon of 30 May, IFAD Evaluation Committee members will take part in a workshop on public policies for family farming in Brazil. Secretary of Family Farming Laudemir Muller, National Corporation for Food Supply Agricultural Policy Director Silvio Porto, Advisor to the President from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) Francisco Reifschneider, and Álvaro Ramos from the MERCOSUR Regional Specialized Meeting on Family Farming (REAF) will participate in the policy dialogue.

On the evening of 30 May, committee members continue on to a programme launch event for the new IFAD-initiated US$4 million Knowledge Management in the Northeastern Semi-Arid Region of Brazil Programme.

Lessons learned from the Dom Hélder Câmara Project
Committee members and other high-level representatives from IFAD’s Latin America and the Caribbean Division travel to Ceará 31 May to meet with state officials and visit with family farmers benefiting from the IFAD co-financed Sustainable Rural Development Project for Agrarian Reform Settlements in the Semi-Arid North-East of Brazil, better known as the Dom Hélder Câmara Project.

“The Dom Hélder Câmara Project closed last year after improving the lives and livelihoods of thousands of poor rural people in the states of Ceará, Paraiaba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe,” said IFAD Country Program Manager for Brazil Iván Cossio.

Made possible with a US$25 million loan from IFAD, the ten-year US$93.5 million programme provided more than 15,000 households with technical training that has allowed them to improve crop yields and incomes. Over 4,500 people learned to read, 500 rural libraries were created, and two-year scholarships were extended for over 250 young people to study advanced farming techniques at a regional agro-technical college.

Brazil’s Northeast region has the single largest concentration of rural poverty in Latin America. In the region, 58 per cent of the total population and 67 per cent of the rural population are considered poor, according to statistics from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The region also experiences erratic rainfalls, which have made it difficult for area farmers to ensure their livelihoods through agriculture.

“While the face of rural poverty in a middle-income country like Brazil is different than the one you will see in Africa or other low-income countries like Haiti, projects such as Dom Hélder Câmara, are key in our fight to stem urban migration, improve opportunities for poor rural people, and ensure food security and long-term global food-price stabilization,” Cossio said.

The Dom Hélder Câmara Project project also benefited from a US$5.9 million grant from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to ensure sustainable land management. The GEF component of the Dom Helder Camara project will close in 2013.

IFAD funding for Brazil
Brazil’s Northeast will continue to benefit from the IFAD-supported Rural Communities Development Project (known locally as Gente de Valor). This large-scale poverty reduction project has been operational since December 2006, with a total cost of US$60 million – $30 million of which is coming from IFAD. It is now operating in 34 municipalities in the region, and hopes to better the lives of over 10,000 households.

The IFAD Executive Board has also approved two new sustainable rural development projects for Brazil.

“We expect that the new projects prepared jointly between IFAD and the governments of the states of Piauí and Paraíba will be launched early next year. This will mean an additional US$88 million in funding for rural poverty reduction in Brazil, with some US$45 million coming from IFAD,” said Cossío. “We also have a project under design for Sergipe, and the new knowledge-management programme in the Northeast will ensure the learnings from successful projects like Dom Hélder Câmara and Gente de Valor can be shared across Brazil and with the rest of the world.”

Learn More
Dom Hélder Câmara Project
English | Portuguese

US$4 million knowledge-sharing programme provides new hope for rural poverty reduction in northeast Brazil
English | Portuguese

IFAD Social Reporting Blog posts on Brazil