One of the biggest issues of developing countries is the division between those engaged with large-scale agribusiness and those engaged with small-scale family farming. Brazil is no exception, since the central-Western region of the country is characterized by modern, technological precision agriculture, while the Southern and Northeastern regions are dominated by smallholder farming. With different and often conflicting agendas, these groups tend to require particular policies but the gap between their economic capabilities dictates an unbalanced relationship. The Plurinational State of Bolivia suffers with a similar structural concern as a deeply unequal economy is translated into conflicts in the rural areas of the country
Towards a Solution
As part of the Brazil-Plurinational State of Bolivia cooperation agenda, representatives of the Government of Brazil were in the Plurinational State of Bolivia in order to present the Brazilian experience in relation to the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA) and the Food Acquisition Programme Web app (PAA Net). The aim is for the Government of Brazil to present national experiences in the management (and stimulus) of family farming, serving people in situations of food insecurity and assessing the possibility of supporting the commercialization of products from smallholder producers. To achieve this end, the cooperation aims at enabling farmers to increase productivity and technicians to prepare market analyses, uniting two skills that are valuable for agricultural development.
For the implementation of the cooperation programme, the Brazilian National Supply Company (CONAB) sent a delegation of experts and technicians to La Paz, Plurinational State of Bolivia, with the objective of presenting the Brazilian experience in terms of policymaking to support family farmers and agricultural marketing. The goal of the mission, which culminated in a workshop and field visits, was to train representatives of the Andean country to prepare surveys of agricultural data, with market production and cost analysis. On the basis of the aforementioned PAA and PAA Net, CONAB sought to train representatives of the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in the main tools of Brazilian agricultural policy in order to boost and strengthen the country's agriculture sector. For that purpose, a workshop on Bolivian family farming capacity-building was held in 2019.
As outcomes, the CONAB mission provided the necessary know-how and expertise for the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to implement its own food acquisition programme, with a digital interface as well. The programme concentrated on (a) the PAA specific modalities of simultaneous acquisition and donation, which are focused on supporting family farmers through government acquisition of food from cooperatives and associations and later donating it to social and assistance networks of food security such as community kitchens and public restaurants, and (b) minimum price policy, which serves as a government incentive to ensure a minimum income for agricultural producers when prices fluctuate or hit low values while regulating the supply of products when there is an overflow of goods to the market.
Although executed by CONAB and ABC, this initiative is part of a broader Brazilian development commitment. Within the Brazilian foreign policy and international cooperation agendas, and aligned with the country’s specific focus towards Latin America, this South-South cooperation project aims at developing rural areas in neighbouring States as a means of achieving longer-term goals, such as eradicating poverty, diminishing violence and boosting economic growth. It is aligned with both the SDGs and the Organization of American States development principles, ensuring a political commitment that is key for avoiding conflict and finding common ground in the region.