Previous to their association with the President Tancredo Neves’ Cooperative of Rural Producers (Coopatan), farmers Valcí and Valdir Santos had difficulty living what they planted. “We were growing on our own and losing yield because we did not know exactly what to do with the land,” says Valcí. With the support of the cooperative and the implantation of new technologies, the farm where the family lives, in the state of Bahia, registered more yield. The impact was significant: in addition to increased income, they gained more knowledge about agriculture and environmental awareness.
Coopatan – together with four other local institutions – is part of the Program for the Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS in the Brazilian acronym), created in 2003 and coordinated by the Odebrecht Foundation – an associated institution of Aberje – with the objective of transforming living conditions of people in the the region know as Baixo Sul da Bahia. Together, these institutions seek the sustainable territorial development of the region through quality education, socio-productive inclusion, and environmental conservation, focusing on young farmers and their families.
In 2018, an Impact Assessment was conducted on the PDCIS for the first time and showed with statistical data the generation of economic, social, and environmental transformations for the beneficiaries, such as the Santos family. “Assessing impacts today is almost an indispensable condition for transparency and the attentive look of society. The evaluation also generates knowledge about the action itself, provides information to verify if the chosen path is effective and allows adjustments if necessary”, says Fabio Wanderley, Superintendent of the Odebrecht Foundation.
Conducted by JS/Brasil consultancy, the study took eight months to complete. The scientific methodology adopted was Case-Control, which compared two groups: the Case group, made up of beneficiaries of the PDCIS, and the Control group, formed by non-beneficiaries.
The result of the Assessment has shown that the Program generates considerable wealth for the communities. Moreover, according to the Assessment, the young people on the Case group are more willing to endeavor in a business, said that they received training on entrepreneurship, and had opportunities to apply new agricultural technologies.
Regarding environmental impacts, it was identified that rural producers that linked agriculture to the rational use of natural resources obtained annual financial gains in average $20,000 reais over the Control group. The study also indicated aspects to improve the PDCIS, such as strengthening the integration between the institutions that are part of it.