Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that the Solidarity Economics secretariat, which is housed in the Ministry of Labor, is doing a good job of stimulating cooperativism in Brazil.
Lula spoke at the opening of the 1st Congress of the National Union of Family Farm Cooperatives and Solidarity Economics (Congresso da União Nacional das Cooperativas da Agricultura Familiar e Economia Solidária) (Unicafes).
“Among other things, the secretariat has implanted projects in 200 Quilombo communities, reaching over 76,000 people. They have also set up farm marketplaces throughout all the states in the country,” said Lula.
The President added that the government is preparing to create a National Solidarity Economics Council that will be participatory for all the players in the sector.
“We are going to make Brazil one of the most cooperativist nations in the world,” he declared.
Lula emphasized the importance of microfinancing. “The efforts by the federal government to provide credit, through credit cooperatives and microcredit institutions, has a great impact on the sector,” he said.
Lula pointed out that over 5 million Brazilians in 13 different economic segments use cooperatives.
They account for 25% of the farm sector, producing 62% of the country’s wheat, 45% of its milk, 39% of its cotton and 29% of its soy.
According to Lula, surveys show that members of cooperatives are an average 20% more productive than those who are not.
Representatives of the Unicafes presented Lula with a list of grievances that called for changes in legislation governing cooperatives and more government funding for family farming.
Lula declared that more cooperatives would be receiving federal funds through a series of measures that will be approved shortly by the National Monetary Council.
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