Andiroba: the seed that generates income and plans for residents of the Juruá Middle Territory

This year's collection is among the biggest of the decade; families use money to invest and buy equipment, such as solar energy

As the Amazon forest product chains are structured over the years, in addition to contributing to the preservation of biodiversity, they also strengthen income generation for local communities. As a result, residents are able to program themselves financially, planning investments after the harvest. 

This is what happens with families that collect seeds, mainly andiroba and murumuru, in the Juruá Middle Territory, in the state of Amazonas. Unlike 2021, when the flood in the region took away most of the seeds, harming the harvest, this year the collection is already among the highest in the last decade.

According to initial surveys by the two organizations that work in the communities along the Juruá River, in the municipality of Carauari, around 27,000 cans of andiroba seeds have already been acquired in 2022, which can yield at least 33 tons of oil used in the industry. of cosmetics and personal hygiene products. On average, production is between 22 tons and 25 tons in the region. 

A's dataAssociation of Residents Agroextractivist for Sustainable Development Uacari (AMARU), one of the entities responsible for the commercialization of seeds and oil processing, show that in the first stage of purchase, 14,000 cans of andiroba were purchased. After processing, they must yield between 15 and 20 tons of oil.

This represents R$ 108 thousand for families who collect seeds in several communities located on the banks of the Juruá River. 

“In previous years, families used the money from the collection for food, purchase of fishing material and other items. Now, as the harvest is being very good, several of them are looking to invest in the purchase of solar energy equipment for their homes. This is very important for them”, says Franciney de Souza, president of AMARU.

Many riverside dwellers live in communities on the banks of the river that still do not have electricity installed, relying on generators – with a high cost due to the use of fuel – or a solar system. 

These communities are part of the rural area of Carauari, headquarter of the territory, which covers an area of 1.2 million hectares, with two Conservation Units - the Extractive Reserve (Resex) Médio Juruá and the Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS) Uacari – and part of the Deni Indigenous Land of the Xeruã River.   

According to Souza, for a second stage of acquisition, the forecast is to invest another R$ 110 thousand in the purchase of another 15 thousand cans of andiroba already available in the communities. 

already the Mixed Cooperative for Sustainable Development and Solidarity Economy of Médio Juruá (CODAEMJ), another organization responsible for commercialization, has so far collected 13,000 cans of andiroba seeds, which should yield 18 tons of oil.

“This crop is going very well. I could even collect more seeds. In addition, women increasingly participate in this activity, earning their own money. Part of this resource is used on a daily basis, but the rest is invested in higher-value equipment by families”, says Francisca Figueiredo, from CODAEMJ.

How it works - The purchase of all andiroba oil production in the region is the responsibility of the company Natura, one of the three strategic partners of the Juruá Middle Territory Program (PTMJ), together with USAID/Brazil, the Plataforma Parceiros pela Amazônia (PPA) and the Bioversity/CIAT Alliance. 

The PTMJ is coordinated by the Sitawi, in addition to community organizations (ASPROC, ASMAMJ, AMECSARA, AMARU, CODAEMJ and ASPODEX) that act as implementers of the actions. 

ICMBio, the State Secretariat for the Environment (SEMA) and OPAN support the program. The vegetable oil chain also relies on the collaboration of the Juruá Institute, the Sustainable Amazon Foundation (FAS) and other partners and organizations that support the chain in the region.

Currently, the seed collection chain and the processing of murumuru oils and butter involve more than 663 families and 2,652 agro-extractivists in the region, including women. The collection of andiroba seeds normally takes place between January and May, while that of murumuru begins in June and goes until mid-August.

The process - After the families have collected the seeds, most of which are carried out by women, the seeds are purchased by the organizations – AMARU and CODAEMJ – for processing. 

Upon arriving at the processing units, installed in the Bauana Conservation Center and in the Roque community, the seeds undergo a drying period, which can last from 15 to 20 days. Only then do they go to the processing that results in the extraction of oil or butter. 

Production coordinator at the Community-Based Company (EBC) Bauana and a resident of the Bom Jesus community, in RDS Uacari, Reginaldo Oliveira dos Santos says that the seed and oil production chain had a very positive impact on income generation.

“Many families earn their living from the gardens and from fishing, especially pirarucu. Collecting increased income. This was a gratifying thing, which came to improve people's quality of life”, he says. According to Santos, this incentive also contributes to the preservation of the forest because the residents take care of these trees.

 Learn more about the PTMJ on the website of Sitawi and gives PPA

Text: Luciana Constantivo

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