Andiroba: the seed that generates income and plans for residents of the Middle Juruá 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 chains of products from the Amazon rainforest are structured over the years, in addition to contributing to the preservation of biodiversity, they also strengthen the generation of income for local communities. With this, residents are able to program themselves financially, planning investments after harvests. 

This is what happens to the families that collect seeds, mainly andiroba and murumuru, in the Middle Juruá Territory, in the State of Amazonas. Unlike 2021, when the flood in the region took most of the seeds, damaging the crop, this year collection is already among the largest 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 purchased in 2022, which can yield at least 33 tons of oil used in industry of cosmetics and personal hygiene products. On average, production is between 22 tons and 25 tons in the region. 

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

This represents R$ 108,000 for families who collect seeds in various communities located on the banks of the Juruá River. 

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

Many riverside people live in communities on the banks of the river that still don't have installed electricity, depending on generators ? at a high cost because of the use of fuel? or solar system. 

These communities are part of the rural area of Carauari, headquarters 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 do Rio Xeruã Indigenous Land.   

According to Souza, for a second stage of acquisition, the forecast is to invest around 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 the Middle Juruá (CODAEMJ), another organization responsible for marketing, So far, it has collected 13,000 cans of andiroba seeds, which should yield 18 tons of oil.

?This crop has been very good. I could even collect more seeds. In addition, women are increasingly participating in this activity, earning their own money. Part of this resource is used on a daily basis, but the rest families invest in higher-value equipment?, says Francisca Figueiredo, from CODAEMJ.

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

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

ICMBio, the State Secretariat for the Environment (SEMA) and OPAN support the program. The vegetable oil chain also counts 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 murumuru seed collection and oil and butter processing chain involves more than 663 families and 2,652 agroextractivists in the region, including women. Collection of andiroba seeds normally takes place between January and May, while that of murumuru begins in June and lasts until mid-August.

The process - After collecting the seeds by the families, most of which is carried out by the 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 go through 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 Bauana Community Based Company (EBC) and resident of the Bom Jesus community, in the RDS Uacari, Reginaldo Oliveira dos Santos says that the productive chain of seeds and oils had a very positive impact on income generation.

?Many families make a living from the fields and fishing, mainly pirarucu. The collection increased income. This was a rewarding 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 residents take care of these trees.

 Find out more about the PTMJ on the Sitawi and gives PPA

Text: Luciana Constantivo

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