In Acre, WWF-Brazil promotes sustainability of acai supply chain
Therefore, it’s always great to give news like this: in recent months, Parque das Ciganas Producers’ Association in Feijó, Acre, sold 57 tons of acai to Frutas Baixo Acre company, located in Boca of Acre, Amazonas.
The acai harvest in the region of Feijó, that occurs from March to May, benefits 78 families that live on the banks of the Jurupari River.
The transaction was made possible with the support of WWF-Brazil - In April, the producers of Parque das Ciganas contacted for the first time with Frutas Baixo Acre company, during an event called Intercâmbio Agroflorestal Purus-Tarauacá-Envira (something like "Agroforestry Exchange Purus-Tarauacá-Envira" in Portuguese).
On the occasion, 22 farmers and rural extension technicians spent a week traveling through southwestern Amazonia learning about rural production practices that do not use fire or cause deforestation- thus guaranteeing the generation of income and conservation of forest resources.
This type of commercial transaction reinforces and enhances the culture of Amazonian extractive populations, who make a living from the forest without resorting to unsustainable economic alternatives to survive.
This sale is also important because it occurs in the corners of the Amazon, where communication and transportation are extremely difficult.
In Parque das Ciganas, for example, the sale of acai only became true less than two years ago when the BR-364 was paved, opening a pathway for production by riverine families- something that did not exist until now.
In this community, WWF-Brazil supports the promotion of best agroforestry practices and the production of liquid smoked sheet (high quality rubber that is improved by the forest community and intended for industry).
In addition, WWF-Brazil sees these "market links" as a great opportunity to strengthen rural production in the Amazon - combining income generation (for companies and communities) with the conservation of natural resources.
One of Parque das Ciganas’ acai producers, Graceílde Antonio de Souza, is very pleased with the new sale:"We didn’t work with acai before because we didn’t have a fixed buyer, our production would spoil. But now it’s good; I can market my product twice a week and, with the money I earn, I can buy goods for my family. I'm really excited, and while there’s acai, I will sell it", he said.
A partner of Frutas Baixo Acre, Richard Cain, said he would rather negotiate with producing communities, not middlemen, because they have more care with the product that is extracted from nature: "Generally, the products from these communities have a better quality, because the riverines have more care and concern for acai. This way, we keep our business viable and encourage the conservation of forests", he said.
According to WWF-Brazil’s Conservation Analyst, Kaline Rossi, the handling of products such as rubber and acai ensures that forests remain healthy. "It reinforces the importance not only for the traditional people who make a living with dignity, but also for society, benefiting many ecosystem services that the forest provides", she explained.
Parque das Ciganas Producers’ Association is one of several civil society organizations that receive institutional, technical, and financial support from WWF-Brazil.
It is one of the project 'Protecting Forests’ (Sky Rainforest Rescue) partner organizations, developed by WWF in partnership with the British network Sky TV and the Government of Acre. Their aim is to provide alternatives for the river communities bordering the Amazon so they can live off the forest resources without having to cut the forest down.