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Brazil’s state of Tocantins will improve agriculture, water and sanitation with help from IDB

The Brazilian state of Tocantins will improve water supply coverage, promote agricultural development, increase the income of farmers and generate at least 11,000 new jobs through a program partly financed by a $99 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank.

The program will seek to optimize the multiple uses of water supplies in the southwestern region of Tocantins through a combination of infrastructure investments and better regulation, with the goal of contributing to the state’s sustainable development and enhancing its living standards. 

In order to encourage agricultural development through greater access to irrigation, the program will build a 179 million cubic meter reservoir to regulate flows and three small dams to raise water levels of the Pium and Riozinho rivers, which will be complemented by a system of canals and pumping stations built by agriculture producers. This system will supply water to irrigate 25,600 hectares (64,000 acres).

Annual net farm income per irrigated hectare is expected to rise from an average of 103 reais to 1,970 reais once the system is in operation. Authorities also anticipate that the new infrastructure will generate at least 11,000 new jobs by 2022. 

The program will also seek to improve water and sanitation services for the 14,000 people living in the municipalities of Pium, Lagoa da Confusão and Cristalândia. By the fifth year of the program, 90 percent of the people in these municipalities should  be connected to a potable water system, up from less than 38 percent today, and 90 percent should also be connected to a sewerage system, up from 1 percent today.

The second objective of the program is to support regional development. This entails research and capacity-building measures, including financing research activities to improve crops and irrigation techniques, establishing business plans for the main agricultural chains, making information available to investors and general promotion and dissemination activities. The program will also train agricultural technicians and producers on irrigation and production techniques. Finally, part of the funding will go to mitigate environmental impacts and strengthen the institutional capacity of environmental authorities and municipal administration entities. 

The IDB loan is for 25 years, with a  five-year grace period and a variable interest rate based on LIBOR. The executing agency will be the state of Tocantins through its Department of Water Resources and Environment (SRHMA).

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