Contracts between Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras and four biodiesel refineries are expected to benefit around 65,000 families of small farmers in the states of Minas Gerais, Pará, PiauÀ, and São Paulo.
They will be the ones to plant oil seed crops like castor beans, dendê palms, and soybeans, raw materials used in the production of biodiesel fuel, and sell them to the refineries.
Agropalma, Brasil Biodiesel, Soyminas, and Granol are the companies that will supply biodiesel fuel to Petrobras. They received Social Fuel seals from the Ministry of Agrarian Development.
During the contract-signing ceremony in the Planalto Palace, in Brasília, Brazil’s Ministry of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto, underscored that the biodiesel program is a means of social inclusion and income generation for family farmers.
According to the Minister, the forecast is for 100,000 families to be benefited this year, and 250,000 in 2007.
"The government is incorporating a strategic and novel element in this program for our country. It represents an instrument of social development and income distribution capable of incorporating millions and millions of family farmers, especially in the regions where the highest levels of rural poverty still prevail in our country," Rossetto pointed out.
The Minister informed that the companies that buy raw materials from family farmers to produce biodiesel will receive fiscal incentives.
Companies in the North and Northeast regions will be exempt from payment of the PIS [Social Integration Program] and the Cofins [Contribution to Finance Social Security], according to Rossetto, and in the other regions the benefit constitutes a reduction of as much as 68%.
At the ceremony the minister of Mines and Energy, Silas Rondeau, also made a point of noting that the program will held retain small farmers in the countryside.
"The program is a way to fix the population in the countryside. Each family farmer will be able to assert that in his small plot of castor beans or dendê palms he has the equivalent of a small oil well."
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