President Rousseff announces major fisheries investment
In her latest ‘Coffee with the President’, President Dilma Rousseff has announced on her website a R$ 4.1 billion (£1.3 billion; $2 billion) investment in Brazil’s fishing industry.
The text of the release as translated by us is as follows:
“Luciano Seixas: President, today, you have good news for fishermen and fish producers around the country?
President: Yes. The good news is that we will launch this week, the Harvest Plan for Fisheries. We’ll invest, R$ 4.1 billion by 2014 thus doubling fish production in Brazil, reaching 2 million tons per year.
We will extend credit, we will invest in technical assistance, encourage the formation of cooperatives, helping to improve the storage and marketing of fish. In addition, we will invest in research to increase productivity in the sector. Combining all this, we will make our fishing industry more competitive and also increase the income of fishing families, because many of them still live in poverty.
Luciano Seixas: Will the Fisheries Harvest Plan improve credit conditions for fishermen?
President: Fishermen, earning up to R$160,000 per year, and farmers with incomes of up to R$ 320,000 per year, will have access to Pronaf, which is our Program Funding of Family Farming. With that, they will have access to credit, paying only 4% interest per year, and have a two-year grace period to pay the loan used to fund the production.
Microcredit for fishermen will be even better. These workers may pay a loan of up to R$ 2,500.00 and will have two years to pay off, with interest, from 0.5% a year. Those who pay on time will get a discount of 25% on the amount borrowed.
Luciano Seixas: And the fishing cooperatives also have a special line of credit?
President: This is very important because our goal is to stimulate the fishing cooperatives to grow and develop into small industries producing fish. The credit cooperatives may reach R$ 30 million and will be paid in up to ten years, with interest at 2% per year. The cooperative does not begin to pay for funding until three years after taking the credit, giving time to the cooperative to organize their production, start taking profit from the business and then pay for the loan. With this money, the cooperatives can buy equipment and cages, modernize boats, buy cold rooms, improve marketing and avoid waste, which is one of the biggest problems in fish production in Brazil.
Luciano Seixas: But to make production grow don’t fishermen also need technical assistance?
President: That is very true. Thinking about it we decided to invest R$ 135 million in assistance and technical courses for 120,000 fishermen know how to get the credit, adopt best practices for production and conservation of fish and also know how to market your product. This means that we are investing in enhancing the competitiveness of the fishing industry.
Luciano Seixas: Will the government also help ensure the sale of this fish?
President: Yes. The PAA, Food Purchase Program, which is a program that I really like, will buy up to 20 tons of fish per year producer, which means, to give you an idea, a fourfold increase over current purchases. This fish will be used, for example, in school lunches. Let’s bring our children a healthy high protein diet and, at the same time allow the fish farmer to sell part of his production at a fair price.
Luciano Seixas: Will the Harvest Plan for Fisheries also help the poorest families, president?
President: Yes. Today, about 380,000 families are still living from fishing in extreme poverty. Many of these families are in wetlands or riparian communities. What we want is to improve the lives of these families, guaranteeing them the right to work, to produce and generate their own income. By improving the life of Brazilian fishermen and their families we are giving them the opportunity to also participate in this new Brazil, more developed and fairer, we are building together every day.”