BRASILIA — In 2014, USAID named Brazil as the partner in its first ‘Strategic Partnership Mission.’ As partners, USAID and Brazil spur development and increase food security in Mozambique, Honduras and Haiti. Brazil’s experience in development offers its unique expertise to the partnership.
Brazil’s evolution from an aid recipient to a donor reflects the country’s dramatic economic growth. Brazil has significantly lowered its poverty rate through the Bolsa Familia initiative. This social welfare program provides small cash transfers to 46 million Brazilians living below the poverty line. Although Bolsa Familia is funded with less than 0.5 percent of Brazil’s GDP, the program has lifted 50 million citizens out of poverty.
The first Strategic Partnership Mission engages USAID, Brazil and the State of Rio de Janeiro Security Secretariat in trilateral cooperation as they work to alleviate hunger and poverty in underserved countries. The partnership leverages Brazil’s experience in development to help Mozambique, Honduras and Haiti alleviate hunger and spark agricultural growth.
Development in Mozambique
In Mozambique, the trilateral cooperation targets food insecurity by training small farmers in better crop management and introducing environmentally-friendly irrigation and disease-resistant crops. The effort is led by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA). The partnership is first increasing the capacity and teaching ability of Mozambique’s Agriculture Research Department (IIAM). Then, Brazil and USAID will encourage adoption of better farming practices and new technology by small farmers, government workers and the private sector.
Furthermore, the Strategic Partnership Mission works to improve the availability of nutritious food for school-aged children. Mozambique’s Ministry of Education receives aid from Brazil for its National Program on School Feeding (PRONAE). The program links local farmers with schools to filter fresh produce to students.
Development in Honduras
In Honduras, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) of Brazil’s Ministry of External Relations works with EMBRAPA and USAID to improve farmers’ access and understanding of available farming technology. The organizations partner with the Luis Landa School of Agriculture to provide this technical assistance.
Additionally, cash crops like cashews, sesame seeds and honey were introduced to spur economic growth in poor farming regions. The Honduran Ministry of Agriculture (SAG) and its Agriculture Research Center (DICTA), with support from the trilateral cooperation, created a laboratory to develop varieties of these crops and to provide training to farmers so they can begin growing cash crops. Climate change-resistant strains of these crops, developed by EMBRAPA, have successfully been incorporated into Honduras’s agricultural sector.
The Strategic Partnership Mission also invests in renewable energy innovations that will lessen poverty and increase food security. Coffee farmers have received solar dryers that allow producers to dry coffee beans faster, thus speeding up the farmer’s return on investment. Eco-stoves have been installed in homes and schools to replace traditional stoves that produce harmful smoke. The partnership trains local Hondurans in stove building and installation to ensure that the eco-stoves can continue to spread to new communities. More than 50,000 Honduran partners have benefitted from the eco-stoves.
Development in Haiti
In Haiti, the trilateral cooperation focuses on developing the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development. The partnership aims to spread better farming material to increase agricultural outputs and the availability of nutritious produce.
Additionally, Brazil and USAID work with the Rural Centers for Sustainable Development to develop and spread new farming technologies to small farmers.
Ultimately, Brazil’s experience in development adds an unprecedented level of expertise to the trilateral cooperation. Brazil’s successful transition from aid recipient to aid donor suggests that other developing countries have the capacity to spur significant economic growth with the right social programs. Brazil’s unique competency certainly contributes to the initial success of the initiatives set forth by USAID’s first Strategic Partnership Mission.
– Katherine Parks