Tereza Cristina highlights the work of the Ministry of Agriculture to encourage women's organization in the countryside

Minister Tereza Cristina (Agriculture, Livestock and Supply) highlighted that Mapa is working to encourage the organization of women in the countryside, when participating this Monday (26) in the 5th National Congress of Women in Agribusiness.

Tereza Cristina defended cooperativism as one of the forms of organization for rural producers to have access to technology, more credit and productive resources, challenges they face in the countryside. Furthermore, organized sectors are able to recover more quickly in the face of a crisis, as occurs during the coronavirus pandemic. Cooperatives, for example, received R$ 60 million as extra credit for working capital during the pandemic.

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The minister reported that the fruit and vegetable sector faced difficulties at the beginning of the pandemic, due to the closure of open-air markets, but managed to recover due to its organization. She said that she even received suggestions from cooperatives led by women on how fruit and vegetable sales should be resumed.

“Where we have the organization, a cooperative with more experience, [recovery] becomes even easier. Any type of organization is more beneficial, and things happen more quickly and losses are less”, said the minister at the virtual meeting.

In Brazil, 19% of rural establishments are run by women, totaling almost 1 million who work as producers, according to the 2017 Agricultural Census, from IBGE. The majority are in the Northeast Region (57%), followed by the Southeast (14%), North (12%), South (11%) and Central-West (6%).

According to Tereza Cristina, cooperativism is one of the lines of action of AgroNordeste, a program aimed at small and medium-sized producers in the region who already sell part of their production, but still encounter difficulties in expanding their business. The minister informed that Mapa is encouraging large cooperatives located in the South, Southeast and Center-West to form partnerships with entities in the Northeast to exchange experiences.

The Minister of Agriculture of Portugal, Maria do Céu Antunes, also highlighted the importance of organizations run by women and reported success stories in wine and pear production in her country.

The leader of the Alliance of International Cooperatives in America, Graciela Fernandez, from Uruguay, highlighted the strong Brazilian presence in cooperativism and how this type of organization helps in tackling gender issues in the countryside.

Participants cited the creation of networks to share good examples and initiatives, in addition to exchanging experiences between countries. According to minister Tereza Cristina, Brazil will organize cheese producers to go to Portugal to learn production techniques in the country.

Traceability

At the event, the minister highlighted the need for rural producers to adapt to the demands of the globalized consumer market, such as the implementation of product traceability.

According to Tereza Cristina, the Map provides protocols with guidelines for rural producers. “If there is no growth in the value chain, [the producer] will be left behind. There’s no way around it,” said Tereza Cristina.

Source: DATA

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