An MST (Landless Rural Workers Movement) cooperative in São Paulo managed to raise R$3 million from the capital market to finance its agricultural and agro-industrial production.
The investment was obtained through the issuance of Agribusiness Receivables Certificates (CRA), an instrument that is normally used by large producers and companies in the sector.
The amount collected goes to the Agricultural Production Cooperative of Settlers and Small Producers in the Northwest Region of the state of São Paulo (Coapar), located in the São Paulo city of Andradina. It is estimated that around 500 settler families and small producers are benefiting from the investment.
Coapar sells, on average, 35 thousand liters of milk per day and supplies agricultural inputs for the production of fresh milk and its derivatives, such as yogurt, cheese and cream cheese, as well as beans and vegetables.
The capital market operation was carried out by Gaia Impacto Securitizadora, which in 2021 had already raised R$17.5 million for MST cooperatives through CRAs. Although it was the target of numerous attacks, the initiative, at the time, brought together more than 5,000 interested parties.
In addition to Gaia, the operation in favor of Coapar had the legal assistance of the firm GGM Advogados, with the participation of partner Luiz Rafael de Vargas Maluf and associates Luiz Gustavo Panizza Brandao Britts and Rafael Ferreira Monti.
The president of the Gaia group, João Paulo Pacifico, says that the investment in the cooperative stands out for its transparency and its social and environmental impacts. “In a world where money has only been used to increase the concentration of income and exclude people, we use it to promote something positive,” he says.
Pacifico explains that MST cooperatives do not have easy access to bank credit because of the “enormous prejudice” that they would be targeted. Just like any company, however, they need working capital, as there are costs between the production process and sale of the agricultural product.
Through operating in the capital market, Pacifico says, cooperatives can obtain the resources they need, while those who invest make a profit. In the case of Coapar, net income is estimated at 13% per year. The bonds will mature on January 3, 2025.
“It’s an operation that doesn’t go through the bank. Those who are borrowed are people from the capital market”, explains the president of Gaia.
“We ignore the fact that, when we put money in the bank, it doesn’t just sit in the vault. The bank takes it and lends it to companies like Vale, JBS and Petrobras, to someone who is in debt. It will do things with your money that you don’t know. In the case of the cooperative, transparency is absolute”, he adds.
Pacifico also states that the amount of R$3 million is not being directed to the MST, but rather to cooperatives of agrarian reform settlers. “It’s an investment that helps reduce social inequality and helps workers who are at the base of the pyramid and don’t have access to capital,” she says.
Coordinator of Finapop (Popular Financing of Family Agriculture), from the MST, agricultural engineer Ana Terra states that cooperatives that seek resources through this type of operation become more professional, since they need to meet a series of requirements to access credit . In the last three years, 82 units have already used this financing modality.
“The operation is symbolic because it takes place at a time when interest rates are very high, ranging from 30 to 40% per year. We want to remunerate the investor well, but we cannot burden the cooperatives too much”, says Terra. The entire CRA sales process generated costs of around 15% for Coapar.
As the land used by producers and settlers is public and cannot be made available, the guarantee given to investors consists of sales contracts already signed with other companies.
Coapar, which has part of its milk production destined for school meals, had already accessed a portion of the resources obtained in the operation that raised R$17.5 million in 2021. At the time, equipment and machinery were purchased to organize its industry .
This time, says Terra, the idea is to use the resources to increase the milk factory’s production capacity and acquire raw materials, among other inputs.
“The movement has been organizing cooperatives for 40 years and has always had a great need for credit. When it finds itself in a context of crisis, it has to look for alternatives in the private market. It’s a turning point for the movement”, says the Finapop coordinator
The founder and president of Instituto Rodrigo Mendes, Rodrigo Hübner Mendes, received guests last week for the launch of the book “The Potential of Change: The Challenge of Navigating Uncertainties” (Companhia das Letras). Musician Gilberto Gil and presenter Pedro Bial were present and participated in a conversation about the work. The event took place at Teatro Paulo Autran, at Sesc Pinheiros, in São Paulo.
with BIANKA VIEIRA, KARINA MATIAS It is MANOELLA SMITH
LINK PRESENT: Did you like this text? Subscribers can access five free accesses from any link per day. Just click the blue F below.