Creative initiatives that supports forest conservation
By Chris Meyer and Juliana Splendore
There are various community and indigenous enterprises and projects across the Brazilian Amazon that are contributing to forest conservation. These initiatives are not only generating income, but are also creating opportunities for community development according to the values of indigenous and traditional peoples.
Case studies of three emblematic initiatives of this kind in Brazil show us how communities living in the Amazon forest are creating commercial partnerships that value their traditional products and offer alternatives to economic activities based on deforestation.
The Babassu Nut Collecting Cooperative
The Cooperativa Interestadual das Mulheres Quebradeiras de Coco Babaçu (CIMQCB) is a decentralized cooperative formed by women from forest communities who collect and process babassu nuts in Brazil. CIMQCB sells its main products, babassu nut soap, oil, and flour, to various types of local, regional, and national customers.
The goals of the cooperative extend beyond the commercialization of babassu products. CIMQCB has its origin in a historical social movement in the North of Brazil: the Interstate Women’s Movement of Babassu Nut Breakers (MIQCB). The main objectives of this movement are to ensure that nut breakers have access to babassu palms, to preserve the babassu plant, and to promote gender equality and sustainable extractive policies
Partnerships with foreign and national development programs have been essential for its organizational development. However, the cooperative still faces major obstacles, such as official registration and legal structuring of production units.
Extraction of babassu nuts has had positive consequences for the preservation of babassu palms and the surrounding environment. In addition, CIMQCB’s investment in training and quality products contributes to the enhancement of other non-timber product markets in the Amazon region.