New Business Recovery Fund Will Help Brazilian Dairy Producers Respond to COVID-19

Hard-hit artisanal cheese makers will benefit from access to capital and technical assistance

Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil — Last month, Anglo American and international nonprofit organization TechnoServe announced a new initiative to support the economic recovery of artisanal cheese producers in five municipalities of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Over the course of this year, the Business Recovery Fund will provide around 50 of these small agribusinesses in Conceição do Mato Dentro, Serro, Dom Joaquim, Alvorada de Minas, and Congonhas do Norte a total of $195,000 (R$ 1 million) in emergency funds as well as technical assistance in order to weather the crisis.

Artisanal cheese is a traditional and beloved product from rural areas of Minas Gerais, but the small family farms that produce it often face financial difficulties, and COVID-19 has exacerbated their hardships this past year. As the pandemic disrupted producers’ marketing plans and distribution channels, sales plummeted and unsold cheese spoiled on the farms. To better understand the situation, the Crescer Program—a collaboration between Anglo American, Inter-American Development Bank  and TechnoServe—conducted a survey of milk and dairy producers in May 2020, with respondents reporting:

  • Average revenues fell by 54%;
  • Average production fell by 46%; and
  • Nearly one producer in ten halted production completely.

Many of these small enterprises continue to face economic challenges and run the risk of going out of business.

Anglo American and TechnoServe created the Business Recover Fund in response to the feedback from these dairy producers. Using simple cash transfers, the fund will provide each producer up to $3,900 (R$ 20,000) to finance ongoing operating expenses—including animal feed, salaries, and transportation costs—and capital investments to increase production, improve quality, and reach new markets. The funds will be accompanied by tailored technical assistance, focusing on the key business challenges that cheese makers face during the crisis. The technical support will build on TechnoServe’s experience supporting entrepreneurs during COVID-19 and other disruptions. It is anticipated that this support will allow most participants to raise their sales to pre-COVID-19 levels and will help save or create 150 full-time jobs.

“With the drastic negative impact of COVID-19, many cheese makers run the risk of going out of business. However, targeted financial support, coupled with training and technical assistance, will empower them with the resources and skills they need,” said Vladimir Olarte, TechnoServe’s country director in Brazil. “The partnership with Anglo American provides relief for farmers who have had to make tough decisions to stay afloat during this unprecedented year.”

“In line with Anglo American’s commitment to promoting sustainable development in the regions in which it operates, and to assist in the economic recovery of communities during and after the pandemic, the fund will represent an important initiative to promote this traditional production chain, added to the support already provided in recent years by our Crescer program,” said Daniel Tito, manager of socio-institutional performance at Anglo American Brazil.

The selection of businesses that may receive the funding is being carried out through a public call for projects. Interested dairy producers can register their projects until January 17, 2021. After the call for applications closes, participants will be selected and will receive the training, technical assistance, and access to recovery funds. For more information, click here.


About TechnoServe

TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A non-profit organization operating in 29 countries, we work with hard-working men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. By linking people to information, capital, and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities.

Founded over 50 years ago, TechnoServe has been named the #1 nonprofit for fighting poverty by the ImpactMatters charity ratings agency.

About Anglo American

Anglo American is a leading global mining company and our products are the essential ingredients in almost every aspect of modern life. Our portfolio of world-class competitive operations, development projects and undeveloped resources, provides many of the metals and minerals that enable a cleaner, greener, more sustainable world and that meet the fast growing consumer-driven demands of developed and maturing economies. With our people at the heart of our business, we use innovative practices and the latest technologies to mine, process, move and market our products to our customers – and to discover new resources – safely and sustainably.

As a responsible producer of diamonds (through De Beers), copper, platinum group metals, the steelmaking ingredients of iron ore and metallurgical coal, and nickel – with crop nutrients in development and thermal coal operations planned for divestment – we are committed to being carbon neutral across our operations by 2040. We work together with our business partners and diverse stakeholders to unlock sustainable value from precious natural resources for the benefit of the communities and countries in which we operate, for society as a whole, and for our shareholders. Anglo American is re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives.