New investment promises to develop the açaí and fish chains through a partnership between Instituto Interelos and the Sustainable Development Committee (CDS) of Porto de Moz, Pará.
The Verde Para Semper Extractive Reserve, the largest extractive reserve in Brazil, located in Porto de Moz, in the north of Pará, presents a typical picture of the Amazon regions. On the one hand, a development potential still to be explored, with the capacity to generate prosperity and decent living conditions for its almost 13 thousand inhabitants. This potential is based on its ability to produce socio-bioeconomy assets that are increasingly valued worldwide. On the other hand, the region is under pressure to expand activities with a high environmental impact and is unable to provide an ideal quality of life for its inhabitants.
The 37 local communities derive their income from various sources that include legal logging, fishing, fruit, nuts and agricultural production, as well as buffalo and pig farming. But generating income and jobs with sustainable production is a challenge to be overcome, precisely because of the pressure surrounding activities such as livestock and illegal logging. Given this scenario, the Interelos Institute has been developing a partnership with communities of the Reserve to strengthen the region's community-based production chains.
With the funding of Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), Interelos held between 2021 and 2022 a study at Resex, in partnership with the Sustainable Development Committee (CDS), in Porto de Moz, to identify development challenges and opportunities based on a sustainable and community economy that guarantees decent income and promotes human rights, such as access to health and education .
As study completed, CLUA renewed its support for the project so that it can move forward in its next stage. To talk about the matter, we interviewed the coordinator of the CDS, who is also a resident of the Reserve, Edilene Duarte da Silva, and the economist and consultant for the Interelos Institute, Antonio Bunchaft.
Edilene Duarte da Silva
Interests: What is the importance of the program for the development of value chains being carried out at Resex Verde para Semper, with support from the CLUA (Climate and Land Use Alliance)?
Edilene: I'm Edilene, coordinator of the Porto de Moz Sustainable Development Committee. In 2020, we signed a partnership with Instituto Interelos to develop the açaí chain and the fish chain in the Verde para Semper Extractive Reserve. These chains are very important for communities because, in addition to being a source of income and employment for families, they are necessary to guarantee people's food security.
Interests: Could you take stock of what has been done so far in this program?
Edilene: Between 2020 and 2022, many actions were carried out. Even with the pandemic, activities were developed with the communities to, for example, define which chains they need, can and want to promote. A survey was also carried out with the families of what we have today, of what we can develop and how this can be done. This survey was carried out through a market study that looked inside the communities, but also outside them, in order to collaborate with the definition of the chains that would be prioritized.
Interests: What are the next steps and what are the program priorities at the moment?
Edilene: We have the market study ready and the families are very keen to develop these chains, with the support of the CLUA, through the Interelos Institute project with the CDS. Now we are going to talk to these families and put into practice what is written in the study. Let's start this development process, which is necessary to foster chains and make them work better. We intend to prioritize some chains, mainly the production of açaí and fish, as is in the plan. We will work to develop these two chains, making families carry out what was planned.
Interests: What is the importance of the program for the development of value chains that has been carried out at Resex Verde para Semper with support from the CLUA (Climate and Land Use Alliance)?
Antonio: This program is the result of an analysis of Resex's regional potential for promoting value chains, which resulted in a selection of two production chains: fish and açaí. These are the ones that have shown the most potential to reverse the degradation process that has been taking place in the region from the extensive breeding of buffalo cattle, in addition to illegal logging. Its relevant aspect, then, is to select value chains with the potential to compete and supplant from an economic point of view those other activities that are inadequate from a sustainability point of view.
Interests: Could you take stock of what has been done so far in this project?
Antonio: We made an extensive diagnosis of the entire Resex in very difficult conditions, including due to the pandemic. The team went to the field, carried out visits and interviews, identified key actors in the community and formed a partnership with the CDS, which is the network of local actors present in the Resex. This diagnosis then raised these possibilities of existing chains in the region and carried out market studies to verify the economic viability of each one of them until we arrived at the selection of the fish and açaí chains. Based on this selection, we made medium and long-term business plans for each of the chains. We also study the School-Family local, which is an educational unit adapted to the agricultural conditions of the rural territory that has a strategic role in the supply of specialized and qualified labor for these chains that will be developed.
Interests: What are the next steps and what are the project priorities at the moment?Antonio: The next steps now are, on the one hand, working with each community that is associated with these two chains in order to start discussing with the communities that are in different places from the Resex the strategic project to promote these chains. So we will develop all the work with them in the sense of planning and working a whole program that involves the step-by-step organization and structuring of the chains. For this, it will be necessary to elaborate an institutional framework and a community pact between the actors with this strategic objective. On the other hand, we must start working and structuring the School-Family of the region so that it can become a permanent structure that operates in the long term and can train, educate, qualify and generate new students with a focus on these chains to build specialized labor in the medium-long term so that Resex does not have to import human resources from outside the region. So the idea is to work and value the local workforce and help them to connect to these chains so that this process becomes sustainable in the medium and long term.