Conditional cash transfer (CCT) and rural development (RD) programs have grown rapidly in Brazil since the mid-1990s. The first conditional cash transfer program—Bolsa Escola—was introduced in the municipality of Campinas in 1995, and by 2002 had become a federal program operating in nearly all Brazilian municipalities. The program was modified and expanded under President Lula. In its current form, Bolsa Família reaches over 13 million families. The Program to Strengthen Family Farming (PRONAF) was created in 1995 and expanded to over 1.8 million credit contracts with family farmers in 2005. Both programs have been studied extensively by academics and policy analysts in Brazil, although many times without clear strategies for identifying program impacts. We are not aware of any research that has sought to identify potential synergies between the two programs.
At the same time as the Brazilian government was expanding its CCT and RD programs, IFAD was collaborating with the Federal and State governments on a number of rural development projects in the Northeast of the country. IFAD’s first loan to Brazil was in 1980 for a rural development project in Ceará. Between 1980 and 2006, IFAD funded six projects in the rural Northeast of Brazil for a total US$141.6 million. When including co-financing and counterpart funding, these projects mobilized close to US$420 million.
Over 60% of IFAD’s loans for these projects went to support productive and market development activities, which includes technical assistance and credit (IFAD, 2008).
In this project we propose to:
a) Survey the literature on the impacts of conditional cash transfer and rural development policies in Brazil. The two most important policies to be analyzed are Bolsa Família and PRONAF;
b) Conduct interviews with government officials and a small sample of stakeholders to explore perceived strengths, limitations, and areas for potential improvement of each program;
c) Conduct an econometric analysis of the Bolsa Família and PRONAF policies based on municipal level Agricultural Census data from 1995-96 and 2006. The focus of the analysis will be on the impact of the two programs, and on the possible synergies between them;
d) Conduct an econometric analysis of one IFAD project in the Northeast of Brazil—Pro-Gavião in the state of Bahia—and on the possible synergies with Bolsa Família. The analysis will be based on census tract level Agricultural Census data from 1995-96 and 2006; and
e) Write a final report synthesizing the potential lessons from the Brazilian experience for policy makers in Brazil and other Latin American countries.