At 25, the agronomist Elienai Trindade leads a project that seeks to develop strategies for cashew producers to make the most of the fruit, diversifying recipes and avoiding waste in crop production.
Elienai was part of the CNA Youth, a program aimed at developing young leaders in the countryside. Her idea arose in 2018 when she joined the Regional Cooperative of Family Farmers of Ribeira do Amparo, Cipó, and Ribeira do Pombal (COOPERPRAC), in the countryside of Bahia, a state in northeastern Brazil.
“My project aims to prove that cashews produced by family farming in Bahia, with the support of cooperativism, can be an alternative for vegetable protein. The intention is for the protein – known as “cashew meat” – to be on consumers’ table, in addition to generating income for the producers of these foods.”
The World Bank will finance the initiative through a project called Bahia Produtiva, which aims at strengthening family farming enterprises through the state’s Secretariat for Rural Development.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), if women in rural areas had the same access to agricultural assets, education, and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased, and the number of hungry people worldwide could be reduced by 100-150 million.
Women have a crucial role in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving livelihoods and overall wellbeing. Since 2008, the “contribution of rural women, including Indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty” is celebrated on 15 October.
Data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), through the last Agricultural Census of 2017, show that of the 5.7 million agricultural establishments in Brazil, nearly 1 million have rural women in charge, which represents 19% of the total, surpassing the 13% surveyed in the 2006 Agricultural Census.