*This content was produced in partnership with the Ministry of Agrarian Development and Family Agriculture.
Relaunched at the end of June, after four years of interruption, the Family Farming Harvest Plan 2023/2024 makes history. With R$77.7 billion, of which R$71.6 billion in rural credit, this is already the largest volume of investment ever made by the National Program for Strengthening Family Agriculture (Pronaf). The value is 34% higher than that committed last year.
With interest rates subsidized by the government, and therefore below those practiced by the market, the program strengthens a sector that employs approximately 70% of all labor in the countryside, which helps to avoid rural exodus and, consequently, the disorderly growth of cities.
The financing lines provide funds for the maintenance of beneficiaries and their families; acquisition of animals intended for subsistence production; purchase of medicines, clothing and household utensils, in addition to the construction or renovation of sanitary facilities, as well as other expenses essential to family well-being. Expenses for maintaining infrastructure related to the financed activity are also expected to be covered.
Benefits for the countryside and the city
One of the program’s objectives is to reduce inequality, as people in rural areas face significant challenges. With accessible credit, there is an open path to improving living conditions in these regions. Furthermore, the program stimulates the growth of agricultural production on small rural properties, which guarantees an increase in the income of family farmers and also encourages the creation of jobs in the countryside.
Among the practical effects of this investment is the increase in the production of basic foods, such as cereals, fruits, vegetables and products of animal origin. With greater supply on the market, the chance of falling prices for consumers increases. More than that, the supply contributes to improvements in food security conditions in the country, since we are talking about a segment of agriculture that produces most of the food consumed in the country.
The potential growth of family farming is fundamental for the economic development of regions that often do not receive sufficient investment in services, infrastructure, education and health. In the long term, the strengthening and diversification of the local economy is expected, encouraging the creation of new companies and services.
Even those who do not directly benefit from low-interest loans but live in the regions served benefit. The increase in disposable income in the community is felt more broadly. Commerce, for example, is strengthened, with increased demand.
Credit aimed at family farming also encourages sustainable agricultural practices, which are more common in this type of production. Organic agriculture, agroecology, soil conservation and efficient use of water are some of the common concepts.
The program has specific rural credits for women and young people. The objective is to encourage the participation of these audiences in the production process. For the female audience, it is a strategy of equity and social justice. In the case of young people, the objective is to encourage succession in family farming properties, aiming to make it more attractive for new generations to remain in the countryside.
For the Northeast region, which has specific needs and challenges that become obstacles to the supply of credit, there will be specific aspects aimed at stimulating access. The qualifying limit for Pronaf-B (microcredit program based on family income) increases from R$23,000 to R$40,000 annually. Furthermore, the financing limits for these groups were increased, from R$6,000 to R$10,000 (for men) and R$12,000 (for women).
Investments in training and qualification programs for northeastern farmers were also announced; expansion of financial services infrastructure in the region and review of risk assessment criteria by financial institutions; incentives for the formation of cooperatives and associations of family farmers and implementation of public policies to guarantee investments in infrastructure, education and technology in rural northeastern areas.
Common Harvest Plan x Harvest Plan for Family Farming
Also recently launched, the common Safra Plan concentrates a greater volume of resources than the Family Plan. In total, R$ 364.22 billion were announced. The allocation of resources takes place based on the demand received and presented by financial institutions.
In its common version, the Safra Plan serves rural producers with large properties, who operate on larger production scales and who, therefore, have greater financing needs. Furthermore, these producers generally have more access to forms of collateral for loans.
Despite the difference in gross values, the National Treasury invested more to offer interest rates aimed at family farming. In the current edition of the Family Farming Harvest Plan, the government will spend R$8.5 billion to subsidize interest rates, while R$5.1 billion will be spent on beneficiaries of the common Harvest Plan. At other times, this proportion was reversed.
Editing: Thalita Pires