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IFC Supports SME Linkages for Sustainable Environmental Program in the Amazon


Adriana Gomez                
Phone:  (202) 458-5204        

Fax:  (202) 974-4384        

E-mail:  
agomez@ifc.org        


Washington D.C., February 3, 2003—The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, will provide a grant of up to US $240,000 to the Brazilian environmental organization POEMA for a pilot project that will assist small agro-extractive producers of the Amazon basin. The objective is to help them become environmentally responsible entrepreneurs to increase their productive capacity, while protecting the environment.

This project looks for integrating these agro-producers into the Brazilian marketing and trading systems, developing linkages with corporations in the region. POEMA is a leader in training and developing linkages for poor producers in the Amazon basin. In a joint effort with DaimlerChrysler, POEMA developed a production unit to make car components from coconut fibers harvested by poor communities.


The pilot project, developed jointly by POEMA and IFC, will benefit 70 families in the Island of Marajó in the Amazon river, and includes a strong element of capacity building, training and technical assistance. It will provide the new agro-entrepreneurs the skills needed to establish and consolidate sustainable production chains involving a variety of promising Amazon products such as natural fibers, latex, tropical fruits and nuts, among others, by improving the environmental, social and economic aspects of these initiatives.


“This IFC funded program will assist small agro-extractive producers in the Amazon region to strengthen their business, managerial and production skills, so they can develop bankable business plans for financing” said Harold Rosen, IFC’s director of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) department. “The SME Linkages team in IFC is working closely with POEMA to implement the program.”


IFC’s SME Linkages Team works closely with the Corporation’s clients and partners worldwide to expand their local supply and distributions-chain in order to create more opportunities for smaller business and to assist in sustainable community development efforts.


POEMA – “Poverty and Environment in the Amazon” – is a Brazilian socio-environmental non-governmental organization affiliated with the Federal University of Pará, which promotes an integral sustainable development approach in all its programs. It was created in 1991 to provide integrated solutions to meet the basic needs of the poor population in the Amazon region, based on employment and income generation through the sustainable use of natural resources.


“We are very excited to support POEMA and develop jointly the pilot program for the Island of Marajó, as IFC sees itself as a pioneer in promoting sustainable development and working with social and environmental organizations. This pilot will benefit directly the food security of the families involved and their future economic prospects,” said Bernard Pasquier, Regional Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Department. “We hope that this pilot will be replicated in other forest areas in Brazil in order to help improve the living standards of the local population,” Mr. Pasquier added.


The IFC-POEMA project is expected to have a direct impact on increasing food security and monthly incomes for the families involved. Incentives will be given for these families to reduce slash-and-burn practices, resulting in lower carbon dioxide emissions, and lead to potential carbon sequestration. The project will reduce the strain placed in the Amazon Forest, the world’s largest storehouse of biodiversity.


IFC’s partnership with POEMA, as well as the recently signed agreement with Instituto Terra to help develop business opportunities in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest in Aimores, Minas Gerais, are examples of IFC’s  promotion of sustainable development. These initiatives also create new schemes for IFC’s collaboration with social and environmental organizations.


IFC’s mission (
www.IFC.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding in 1956 through the close of the last fiscal year on June 30, 2002, IFC committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s committed portfolio at the end of FY02 was $15.1 billion for our own account and $6.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.