Joe Leahy – FT, 03/25/2012
When Simon Veldt’s father and his fellow Dutch immigrant farmers set up the Holambra II co-operative near Paranapanema in southeastern Brazil, the area was known as “Hunger Valley”.
The co-operative, launched in the 1960s, built irrigation systems, introduced agricultural techniques and invested in equipment, changing the face of a district that had been populated by poor farmers subsisting on a few cattle and some corn and beans.
“There was no electricity, there was nothing,” says Mr Veldt, president of the Holambra Agro-Industrial Co-operative, which features a faux Dutch windmill at its entrance. “Now this region is known as the grain elevator of the state of São Paulo.”