Around 10 million people in the 588 municipalities, in 11 states, that form Brazil’s 16 thousand kilometer border with various other South American countries will now have the chance to work and produce as a result of the Ministry of National Integration’s Frontier Strip Development Program.
According to the Ministry’s Secretary of Regional Programs, Carlos Gadelha, the purpose of the project is to discover each region’s economic vocation, train its citizens, organize productive activities in cooperatives, and offer lines of credit to acquire equipment and material.
“This is another of the Lula Administration’s social inclusion projects,” Gadelha said. According to the Secretary, it is necessary to erase the idea that the border population is made up of marginal elements with ties to drug trafficking.
“With this program we shall provide these people the opportunity to show they know how to and can do excellent jobs.”
Gadelha recalls, however, that cultural diversity must be respected for the projects to succeed.
The Ministry of National Integration created forums in border municipalities for each population to organize itself and determine its priorities, economic vocations, and the bases of the project. All of this in a well-structured effort for each region.
“The activity with indigenous handcrafts in the North cannot be the same as with cattle-ranchers in the South,” he concluded.
The Upper Solimões region in the state of Amazonas, on the border with Colombia, is one of the Program’s priority areas. A project involving fish-breeding and indigenous handcrafts is already underway.
Fishermen from the region were trained by the Ministry, and now, besides having learned new methods to catch and handle fish, they also possess fish cooling plants.
Indian artisans were also trained, and they produce items incorporating new designs taught by Frontier Strip specialists.
The Program also gets support from an inter-Ministerial work group composed of 21 Ministries, each one collaborating within its own sphere, such as health and education.
Translator: David Silberstein
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