In addition to host the greatest biodiversity in the planet, the Amazon forest fuels economic activities with low environmental impact, which boosts the development of extrativist communities in a sustainable way. In Brazil, the economy of NTFPs contributes with over R$ 1.5 billion per year, according to IBGE data (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics). The collection of products found within the forest, such as chestnuts, açaí and babaçu, grant the subsistence of over 2 million people in the country.
This is the type of economic activity that Florestas de Valor values, a program developed by Imaflora, sponsored by Petrobras, through Petrobras Socioenvironmental Program, and financial support from iCS, the Government of Canada, BNDES and Humanize, which fosters the creation of sustainable productive chains within the mosaic of the protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon, both generating income and conserving the forest.
One of the initiatives that aid in boosting this bioeconomy is developed by Association of Women Producers of Fruit Pulp (AMPPF) in São Félix do Xingu, municipality in the southwest of Pará State. In the city, agroforestry systems (SAFs) were implemented, which regenerated areas of the Amazon biome that had been degraded, recuperating the fertility of its soil and offering a new type income: sales of fruit pulp. This year, with Imaflora’s support, the women received an incentive to increase their production: the implementation of 20 new plant nurseries with forest and fruit seedlings, such as cocoa, cupuaçu, acerola, cajá, açaí, mango, graviola, passion fruit, guava and tamarind.
“Florestas de Valor’s initiative occurs outdoors for over 20 years, having the purpose of structuring and strengthening NTFPs’ chains, in order to make possible that these areas, as well as its surroundings, contribute to regional development and propitiate dignified conditions to the population in the Amazon”, explains Eduardo Trevisan, Imaflora’s project manager.
AMPPF, which became a legal body in 2012, was conceived by ADAFAX (Association for the Development of Family Agriculture of Alto Xingu), that carried out a market survey, commercial potential, flavor preferences and pricing of securities for the production of pulps. Based on this evaluation, a public policy for the incentive to local production was mapped: PNAE (National School Meals Program) established that at least 30% of the items of the school meal be acquired from family farmers, which generates a permanent demand of several foodstuffs, including fruit pulp.
In 2018, each family commercialized 500 kg of pulp and earned about R$ 8,000.00. Whereas in 2019, the amount achieved by the 16 family producers reached R$ 140,000.00, marketing 9,724 kg. The association brings together the artisans of the communities of Maguary, Tancredo Neves and Nereu, which are located within a range between 20 and 50 km of distance from São Félix do Xingu.
To the women, the creation of AMPPF was a route for financial Independence, asserts Celma de Oliveira, Imaflora’s project assistant.
“Before, the women could only participate in the phases that took place in their own properties, but nowadays, they are in charge of all administrative, production and commercialization processes, enterprising and improving the quality of life of their families, enabling them to acquire goods and hire services on their own, and also dreaming with better and better possibilities for their future”, she comments.
Maria Helena Gomes, 27, is one of the farmers that take part in AMPPF. She says that in the beginning, the Project was an extra income for the families and an opportunity to grant women independence. However, as time passed by, it became their main source of income and provision for their families. “With 100% family labor, each family works at home, and everything is handcrafted. They have taken training courses in order to know the proper processing of the fruits maintaining all health and hygiene care”, she states.
AMPPF counted with the support from CAMPPAX (Mixed Alternative Cooperative of Small Producers of Alto Xingu), wich conceded for 10 years, under a free-lease agreement, a commercial point for the association. Fronteiras Florestais (Forest Borders), Work Plants of the Consulate of Women, and other entities sponsored the renovation of the building and also the acquisition of some agricultural supplies. In addition to investing in the women, Imaflora develops activities that involve over 200 families in hubs of sustainable production of cocoa, local entrepreneurship and rural education in São Felix do Xingu.
Florestas de Valor
Florestas de Valor boosts NTFPs’ chains, spreads agroecology to protected areas and its surroundings contributing to the regional development,
propitiating dignified conditions to local populations, as well as the conservation of natural resources. It acts in forest conservation in the regions of Calha Norte do RioAmazonas, Terra do Meio and in the municipality of São Félix do Xingu, fostering productive activities and granting the opportunity for income generation in the Legal Brazilian Amazon.
Institute of Forestry and Agricultural Management and Certification – Imaflora – is a non-profit civil association, created in 1995, it was conceived under the premise that, the best way to conserve tropical forests is to grant them an economical destination, associated to proper managing practices and a responsible management of natural resources.