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
“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
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.