Sustainable production: community receives equipment to increase its Brazil nut production
With the aim of promoting Brazil nut production in the community of Barra de São Manoel – a small riverside village on the banks of the Tapajós river, in the Amazon rainforest – WWF-Brasil has, in recent weeks, donated equipment to the families of Brazil nut harvesters in that area.
Since 2013, WWF-Brasil has been developing sustainable production projects in the community. This donation is the most recent gesture taken towards promoting the generation of income allied with nature conservation.
The list of donated products amounts to dozens and includes: a generator set to increase the offer of electricity to the community, three freezers, a hot food display case for displaying items, a refrigerator, kitchen materials and equipment (such as plates, cups, cutlery, pans, etc.), equipment for the processing and packaging of nuts – tables, an oven, boots, organizational boxes, spatulas, steel trays – and a vacuum packing machine.
Also included in this “package” are items designated for the community’s tourist assistance center, such as a 55-inch television.
All the donated equipment adds up to 4 tons of cargo and investments of over R$ 219,000. This is one of the largest patrimonial donations made by WWF-Brasil to a single community in its history.
This donation will directly benefit the 60 families of Barra de São Manoel. The forecast is that in the following years this reinforcement in Brazil nut production will increase the income of these families by a rate of R$1,000 per year, by 2022. Additionally, it is hoped that the indirect benefits of this economic activity reach the 1200 riverside families in the region located between the states of Amazonas, Mato Grosso, and Pará. Today, the community can work with up to 30 tons of nuts during the 4 months of the harvest.
Barra de São Manoel is a remote community. Leaving from Manaus, for example, one of the most common routes requires a one-hour plane trip, two to three hours of highway on BR-230, the Trans-Amazonian Highway (depending on the conditions of the road and the time of year); and four hours by boat along the Tapajós. It takes practically an entire day to get there.
For this reason, the transfer of this equipment was a bit of an adventure. It was all purchased in Brasília (DF) and took 6 days to reach its destination. It took four days from Brasília to Humaitá, in Southern Amazonas, passing along highways BR-364 and BR-319; and another two days from Humaitá to the community, via BR-230, the Trans-Amazonian Highway, which is currently in a poor state of repair. In total, over 3 thousand kilometers were covered between highways and rivers.
According to the president of the Agro-Extractivism and Tourism Association of Barra do Tapajós Lucivaldo Batista dos Santos, known as “Ximbau”, the improvements in the Brazil nut production that will be experienced after the donation are “very important.”
“The Brazil nut harvesters from the community are excited. There is a chance to improve the quality of our production, which is essential. Lots of people that gave up the activity are thinking of returning, and that is another positive point. We are grateful, there will be work for more people and the desire to start a business has been spreading among the extractivist families, which is good,” he said.
According to the conservation technician from the WWF-Brasil, Izac Theobald, the donation of equipment seeks to improve the life of that community.
“The idea is to add value to the Brazil nuts produced by these families and enable the extractivists to sell the product at a higher price. This way, they increase their profit margin”, he says.
Barra de São Manoel is a community that emerged in 1892, as a result of the migratory flow which occurred in the Amazon region, at the start of the 20th century, during the rubber boom. The community is located in the municipality of Apuí (AM), but also receives aid from Jacareacanga, a municipality in the south east of Pará, due to the distance in relation to this city.
It is found between the National Parks of Juruena and Mosaico do Apuí – two protected regions that, together, help protect more than 4.3 million hectares of Amazonian Rain Forest. WWF-Brasil has been developing nature conservation projects in that area for over a decade.