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IDB Fund approves grant to Brazilian NGO to create alternative market opportunities in rural areas of Tocantins

The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund announced today the approval of a $600,000 grant to Ecologica Institute, a nongovernmental organization  in Brazil, to create alternative market opportunities in rural areas of the state of Tocantins.

This project will contribute to the socioeconomic development of rural areas in the north of the country. It will implement an integrated model for the production and marketing of an alternative biofuel and other by-products from rural areas of Tocantins in Brazil.

Around 160 producer families in two targeted settlements and producers in other neighboring communities will benefit from training and access to mini-processing facilities, as well as other producers that utilize animal feed by-products from sweet potato production to increase cattle and dairy production. Compared to sugar cane, sweet potato is a faster and more efficient source of biofuel. For many low-income, recently colonized settlements in Tocantins, sweet potato production offers an alternative source of livelihood due to climate conditions and lower capital costs.

Brazil has become a world leader in the production of biofuels thanks to a program initiated by the government in the 1970s. Today about a third of Brazilians use biofuel (ethanol) in their vehicles. It is estimated that a 1 percent substitution of petroleum-based diesel for biodiesel produced by small agriculturalists could generate 45,000 jobs yielding $2,000 each.

Ecologica Institute is a nongovernmental organization created In 2000 to improve the quality of life of local communities by conserving the natural environment and culture and fostering sustainable development values. Counterpart funds for this project will total $782,000.

The Multilateral Investment Fund is an autonomous fund, administered by the IDB. It provides grants, investments and loans to promote private sector growth, labor force training and small enterprise modernization in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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