Approximately 2.5 million people from the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri river valleys region in Brazil will benefit from the Brazilian government’s Agenda of Commitments to the region.
The program, launched today by the Minister of National Integration, Ciro Gomes, will represent a coordinated effort among 23 ministries to stimulate social and economic development in 105 municipalities, where 100 thousand jobs may be generated.
Altogether, US$ 158.11 million (370 million reais) will be spent on 57 development initiatives for the region. The program will provide support for Local Productive Arrangements (APL, Arranjo Produtivo Local) in the areas of gemstones and jewelry, sugar cane liquor (“cachaça”), the furniture industry, and fruit-growing.
An APL is characterized by the existence of a significant agglomeration of firms in a single, main branch of activity, permitting the promotion of economic and social integration in the local setting. The formation of APLs can be considered an option for the country’s growth.
The secretary of regional programs in the Ministry of National Integration, Carlos Gadelha, explains that the actions in the region are quite specific.
In agrarian development, for example, the program will encourage the expansion of family farming and settle over two thousand families, giving support to solidary commercial and associational activities, technical assistance, and rural extension.
Gadelha explained that the form of action of the program in the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri river valleys region was discussed with local society in a development forum.
“They are indicating the directions of what should be the federal government’s priorities,” he said.
A business plan is already being prepared with local producers. The idea is to raise the quality of production and enable all the products to bear a stamp of origin.
“All the products will be certified by federal inspectors so that they can be sold on the domestic market with a stamp of origin. As a result, the income that is earned will begin to remain in the region itself,” he observed.
According to Gadelha, measures such as this are essential to provide development opportunities to this and other regions of the country.
“What is most important is for people from this region to start to have products with greater aggregated value, higher incomes, and a process of employment creation.
“In the semi-arid and the Jequitinhonha region alone, this development action may generate over 100 thousand jobs.”
Gadelha emphasizes that, for the first time in the country’s recent history, the federal government is promoting a coordinated effort among 23 ministries on behalf of regional development.
“We are going to bring employment, income, and citizenship to this population,” he said.