Cooperárvore, a social cooperative that is part of the Árvore da Vida (Tree of Life) program, and was established and developed by Fiat, in the city of Betim, in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil, closed its first international deal. Speciosa de Moraes Soares, a handicraft representative in Berlin, ordered 200 products, among them notebook cases, female handbags, necessaries and key rings, made out of automotive fabrics and seat belts.
With 21 residents of Jardim Teresópolis, a neighborhood in Betim, Cooperárvore has been consolidating itself as an option for generation of work and income for the community surrounding the carmaker's factory.
The products are made out of recyclable material, most of which comes from the Fiat Ecological Island and from suppliers. In 2009, production totaled 19,700 items.
The Tree of Life program was thought up and developed by Fiat, in partnership with NGOs AVSI Foundation and CDM (Cooperation for Development and Human Housing), since 2004. The objective is to promote the inclusion of children and adolescents and their relationship nuclei (family, school and community), through social, economic and cultural development.
Different from Brazilian cooperatives, which registered 9.5% reduction in foreign sales in 2009, agricultural cooperatives in Paraná registered, in the same period, growth of 1.84% in exports, which generated revenues of US$ 1.47 billion.
To the president of the Ocepar System, João Paulo Koslovski, the result shows the vigor of market diversification that the cooperatives from the state of Paraná reached in the international market. In fact, even in a year in which the crisis was present, especially in the United States, Europe and Asia, the main clients for cooperative sector products, all expectations were exceeded and exports rose.
The study elaborated by the economical and technical management of the Ocepar System also show that cooperatives from the state of Paraná answer to 40.5% of the total exported by Brazilian cooperatives and are followed by cooperatives from the state of São Paulo. In all, cooperatives of both states answer to 70.7% of total exports of Brazilian cooperatives.
In the 2010/2011 crop, the southern region of the country (Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul) expects to harvest 75 million tons of grain, which represents 50% of the grain produced in the country. To win this challenge, the sectors connected to agricultural production call for the Federal government to transfer additional funds of 1 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 541 million) to the Regional Bank for Development of the Far South (BRDE), to be invested still this year.
According to the president at the BRDE, Airton Carlos Pissetti, the funds will certainly contribute for this target to be reached, as they will serve to bring greater technology and modernization to farmers in the south, boosting average productivity of their crops.
João Paulo Koslovski also said that the request for more funds for the BRDE, made by Planning minister Paulo Bernardo, is justified by the fact that most of the financing by the bank is turned to farmers. Last year, for example, the BRDE promoted 4,696 operations in the agricultural sector in Paraná alone, making available 598 million Brazilian reais (US$ 324 million) in funds.
Apart from the additional funds, the BRDE calls for the federal government to take some measures to make financing cheaper. In 2009, the bank turned to three states in the South a volume of over 2.2 billion.
The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) has launched a device capable of multiplying plants with much more hygiene, safety and economy. It is the bioreactor, a kind of plant factory, developed and patented by the Embrapa.
The bioreactor operates using a system of glass jars connected by flexible rubber tubes, through which the plants receive air and a solution of nutrients through aspersion or bubbling. The device contains material to be reproduced, like cells, tissue or organs, and it aims at producing plants in a semi-automatic way, with monitoring and control of cultivation conditions, as well as making possible lower manipulation of cultures.
Tracks and Wheels
For the Brazilian railway system, the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) of the government of Brazil has turned funds of 27.7 billion reais (US$ 15 billion). The total is for works for modification, maintenance, construction and duplication of highways.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, 1,634 kilometers of roads were completed, and 53,000 were maintained. Currently, 4,916 kilometers of highways are under construction. Apart from that, within the Program for Concession of Federal Highways, the private initiative was granted 3,282 kilometers of highways.
The railway sector, in turn, received investment of approximately 1.14 billion Brazilian reais. Some 356 kilometers of railways have already been delivered and another 2,632 are still being built. The works of the North-South Railway up to Anápolis (in the state of Goiás) should be concluded by late 2010 and the stretch from Anápolis to Estrela d'Oeste (in São Paulo) should be started in the second half of next year.
Japan is the third main global importer of coffee and was, in 2009, the fourth main buyer of the Brazilian product. Last year, the country purchased two million 60-kilogram bags of national coffee, totaling US$ 343 million. Of this total, 1.8 million bags were green coffee, 90% of the volume exported.