The Brazilian government is going to restart technical assistance and rural extension programs for family farming. For the last 14 years such services were not available following the extinction of the Embrater agency.
Embrater, the Empresa Brasileira de Assistência Técnica e Extensão Rural ( Brazilian Agency for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension) was closed during the Collor administration in 1990.
Since last year the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration’s Ministry of Agrarian Development has been gearing up for the restart.
One of the reasons for the new startup is that there are now 4.1 million family farms in Brazil and they own 80% of all farming properties in the country.
To commemorate the new beginning of the program a national conference (Conferência Nacional de Assistência Técnica e Extensão Rural) is taking place in Brasília, Brazil’s capital, this week.
Hur Ben Corrêa da Silva, an agriculture technician at the ministry who is participating in the conference, says that at the moment only 1.6 million family farms have access to technical assistance and rural extension.
“We are restoring the service in such a way that all 4.1 million family farms will have access to it at an affordable price. This type of service is as important in rural areas as education and healthcare is to the general population,” explained Corrêa da Silva.
“Technical assistance and rural extension goes far beyond just producing more and selling better. It is a process of building up rural infrastructure with a resultant improvement in income and quality of life,” declared Corrêa da Silva.
It means training people and providing more funding, as well as obtaining market access and improving organization.
It also means planting and processing crops and information in a more efficient manner, he said, so that at the end of the day you have a significant, positive impact on family farming in Brazil.
Translator: Allen Bennett