Travel Report: impactful businesses in the Amazon

In September, the Portfolio Intelligence team, responsible for monitoring post-funding deals in platform, carried out visits to some projects in the portfolio in Pará: Ccampo, 100% Amazônia, Cofruta, Coopasmig and Sementes do Marajó. These visits play a crucial role in the field, providing a unique perspective compared to online interactions.

I'm Gabriel Cavalcante, Impact Investment analyst at Sitawi, and I'm going to tell you a little about our journey.

Ccampo

Our first stop took us to Santarém, where we had the privilege of visiting the Ccampo (Agricultural Cooperative of Producers of Western Pará). An organization with a noble mission: to strengthen family farming and connect consumers to rich regional products. During our visit, we were impressed by the diversity of its portfolio, which ranges from native fruit pulps, such as açaí, taperebá and muruci, to an incredible variety of agricultural products, such as acerola, pineapple, cupuaçu, passion fruit and guava. In addition, the cooperative is also dedicated to the production of cassava derivatives and offers fresh products, such as various vegetables, bananas, watermelons and pumpkins.

We were very well received by Fábio, the Cooperative's Financial Director, who welcomed us with a delicious pineapple juice as soon as we arrived. This small kindness gave us a preview of the quality we found at Ccampo. It is worth noting that the cooperative is a relatively recent addition to its portfolio, and during our visit, we had the opportunity to visit the new factory dedicated to processing cassava and producing fruit pulp. Furthermore, we deepened our analysis of the cooperative's financial health. One of the main purposes of our visit was to understand the challenges faced by Ccampo, in order to offer technical assistance in finance that is more accurate and aligned with its current situation.

100% Amazonia

The second stop was at 100% Amazonia. The company has an office in Belém, but its factory, known as the “Fábrica da Floresta”, is located 45 minutes from Abaetetuba, which, in turn, is an hour from Belém. 100% Amazônia is an export commercial organization of renewable forest products, including oils, butters and pulps. The organization operates in the commercialization and export of more than 50 renewable non-timber forest products, with 90% of this production coming from native forests. They maintain direct relationships with cooperatives, promoting fair remuneration and eliminating intermediaries. Additionally, the factory uses advanced technologies to process a variety of Amazon products.

100% Amazônia maintains relationships with more than 30 suppliers, directly impacting around 290 families across the Amazon region. Furthermore, it preserves more than 140 thousand hectares of forest through the sustainable exploitation of Non-Timber Forest Products. With this, the company drives the bioeconomy, aligning innovation and technology with ancestral knowledge to preserve the Amazon forest. During our visit to the factory, we were welcomed by Giovanni, the industrial director, and Ruy, the industrial manager. 


During the visit, it became clear how the company strives to establish direct partnerships with cooperatives, ensuring fair remuneration and eliminating so-called “middlemen” (marketing agents that act in production chains, as intermediaries between producers and consumers, who often make a certain production chain precarious by purchasing for a negligible price). Notably, the strategic choice of the location to build the “Fábrica da Floresta” aimed at proximity to cooperatives in the Abaetetuba/PA region, further strengthening these partnerships. Furthermore, the factory's technological approach is impressive, with the incorporation of advanced technologies in the processing of various Amazonian products.

Cofruta

Continuing the ?tour? through the Pará Amazon, we head to Cofruta, a fruit growers cooperative also based in Abaetetuba, Pará. The organization stands out for its diversified offer of products, which include açaí, cupuaçu, murumuru and others, distributed in segments such as fresh, pulps, jellies, juices, syrups, sweets and seeds. The most notable thing is the cooperative's commitment to its more than 105 members in the region, paying fair and above-market prices, eliminating intermediaries and contributing to the development of the local community.

Another aspect that caught our attention is Cofruta's commitment to the implementation of Agroforestry Systems (SAFs), a practice that allows the cultivation of food and other products, maintaining the health of ecosystems and promoting agricultural resilience. We had the opportunity to visit the property of a cooperative member named Elias, who showed us his area of around 5 hectares, where the SAF was implemented.

Coopasmig

The following week of the trip, we moved to Coopasmig, a cooperative of family farmers and agroextractivists located in São Miguel do Guamá, in the northeast of Pará, a four-hour drive from Belém. The cooperative, which has 120 members, focuses on cassava and its derivatives. In addition, it sells a variety of agroextractive products, such as tucumã, açaí and cupuaçu, as well as fruits and vegetables. At the end of 2022, the organization raised investments together with SItawi for the construction of a cassava processing factory, with work in full swing, expected to open at the end of 2023.

Over the last nine months, I have closely followed Coopasmig's activities and held several virtual meetings with Maria do Espírito Santo, the president of the cooperative. My admiration for her was already considerable, but meeting her in person during this trip represented one of the most emotional moments of this journey for me. Maria is a true force and tireless leader, who masterfully plays her role as president of the cooperative and as a defender of her community.

When we arrived in São Miguel do Guamá, we noticed, from the beginning, that the landscape was changing: a warmer city, roads surrounded by pastures and large farms, a completely different picture from what we saw in Abaetetuba, in the south of Pará. While the agribusiness advances in the northeast of Pará, often associated with deforestation, Coopasmig, under Maria's leadership, shines as a beacon of resistance and renewal.

Sementes do Marajó

We ended the trip by visiting the cooperative Sementes do Marajó, in the city of Curralinho. We quickly got to know the office, where administrative activities are carried out, and then spent the day on the cooperative's boat accompanying members as they collected açaí in various locations in the riverside community of Curralinho. We were accompanied by the president of Sementes, Carlos Baratinha, a brilliant person and a reference throughout the community.

Travel in this region is mainly done via river routes. The experience of spending a day on the cooperative's boat, stopping at several small açaí growing plots and filling it with tons of the fruit, was very enriching. During this experience, we had the opportunity to talk to several cooperative members, listen to their stories and observe their routine, absorbing a lot of lessons about local preservation, about the importance of açaí, not only as the main source of income in the region, but as an essential food in the nutritious diet of riverside dwellers, and get to know the beautiful region from the river's point of view, inside the beloved boat – the ?Fruto da Fé?.

With this visit we got to know up close the impact of some organizations that have captured the Sitawi Platform. You can find out more incredible deals like these by accessing our portfolio!

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