The communities of Lagoa da Baixa and Mandassaia II came together on October 4th to hold their first joint agricultural fair, an initiative to strengthen communities in the semi-arid of Bahia through knowledge exchange. The two communities both realize their own sustainable social and economic development projects – promoting empowerment in the interior of Bahia.

Associação Comunitária de Mandassaia II, located in the rural community of Riachão do Jacuípe in the interior of Bahia, aims to strengthen a group of women who produce and sell candy, cakes and biscuits. The goal of their initiative is to promote job and income creation and to empower rural women.

Associação dos Pequenos Agricultores de Lagoa da Baixa is based in a rural town of Cansanção, over 100 km from Mandassaia, promoting the socio-economic development of the community through family farming activities which include cultivating fields and raising livestock.

The two communities had previously worked together on other initiatives. “We already knew the Lagoa da Baixa community […] we attended the two fairs held in Lagoa da Baixa and in the latter we invited them to undertake an exchange to get to know the reality of our community and to witness the transformations that have taken place thanks to BrazilFoundation’s support,” said Taina Lima, representative of Grupo de Mulheres de Mandassaia II.

At the fair, small family farmers displayed their products and discussed associations and cooperatives.  The fair was also filled with cultural performances, dances, and typical food and desserts of the region.

The leaders of the initiatives recognize that this was a great opportunity for learning and growth. “The two communities have suffered from long periods of drought […] The fair was an opportunity to strengthen family farming and for farmers to market their products, as well as share experiences with farmers from other communities and regions,” said Taina.