Interelos team studies ways to open markets in the Amazon

New visit to the Verde Para Sempre Extractive Reserve, in Pará, deepens dialogue with local communities

Just before landing in Altamira, Pará, it is already possible to observe the vast open areas of the region, where before there used to be large trees and dense forest. A fact that warns of a race against time in order to seek solutions for non-timber products that preserve the Amazon biome. Historically, the Resex Verde para Sempre, which occupies 82% of the Porto de Moz territory, was created with the aim of stopping the advance of illegal deforestation and ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources, however the region is still heavily dependent on logging. 

The visit aimed to deepen the research on the productive activities developed by the communities in the region. The almost 1.3 million hectares of the Extractive Reserve (an area almost 7 times that of the city of São Paulo), which gives it the title of the largest Sustainable Use Protected Area in Brazil, has three areas with different dynamics: inland, transition and floodplain. After the first visit to the transition region, carried out in September, our team of consultants has now visited the inland areas, where they studied the viability of the chains of Brazil nut, certified timber and oils; and the Várzea, where he analyzed the production chains of fishing and buffalo. In addition to analyzing the chains, the team sought to talk to ARCAFAR and CFR of Porto de Moz to understand the context of community schools with the pedagogy of alternation in Pará and to present the heritage fund model which is being built with two Family Schools in Amapá. This strengthening can significantly contribute to reducing school dropout and optimizing the administration of resources, aiming to achieve good results in the long term.

The interview session included a visit to the factory of ASPAR, Small-Scale Fisherfolk's Association of Porto de Moz, initially created as a warehouse to cool fish, but which today, after a well-planned implementation and efficient operation, is able to meet a great demand for ice in the region and surroundings, with evident potential for business expansion, since the need for refrigeration is high, both for the production of fish and for the production of açaí, cheese, etc. 

Daniella Rabello, socio-economic consultant at Instituto Interelos, reinforced the importance of being on site for a better development of the project: “Fieldwork is essential, not only in relation to contact with producers, but also for us to be crossed by the reality that takes place in that biome. So, as much as we can, from a distance, have access to information, nothing replaces being in the territory and experiencing the peculiarities of the producers' lives, living with them.”

Thus, the consultants also visited, in the floodplain area, the fishermen's colony and some communities that are located on the banks of the Xingu River and the Aquiqui River in order to learn more about artisanal fishing, characterized mainly by family labor, in addition to of cheese making. Two activities that complement each other perfectly, since during the closed season, when fishing activities are suspended to respect the time when the fish breed, families usually produce cheese from the extraction of buffalo milk. 

The inland front also had a conversation with the CDS, the Porto de Moz Sustainable Development Council, to align expectations and plan the field work. Next, the communities of São José, Paraíso, Arimum and Por Ti Meu Deus, responsible for the implementation of community-based Sustainable Forest Management Plans, were visited. Considering that the timber production chain is the flagship in this environment, from this study, it will be possible to think about how to add value for managers on the one hand, in addition to how to diversify income generation alternatives, for example, from the management of non-timber forest products such as Brazil nuts and the production of Brazil nut, andiroba and copaiba oils. 

The Instituto Interelos methodology involves working simultaneously on several fronts, as a way of seeking solutions that better exploit the potential of the existing community-based chain, generating more autonomy and income for the population. At the end of this month, the team of consultants will return to Resex to continue the strategic planning together with the CDS, seeking to design concrete actions that promote a better articulation of the potential of Amazonian products with the consumer market, but not any market, only those capable of ensuring the sustainability of forests.

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