Brazil tries to regain space in nut shipments | Agriculture

Brazil tries to regain space in nut shipments | Agriculture
Brazil tries to regain space in nut shipments | Agriculture
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The popular name is Brazil nut, but it is Bolivia that leads the world in seed exports. The paradoxical situation was established in the early 2000s, but now it has provoked a reaction from the segment, which is organizing itself to regain the leading role that Brazilians lost to their neighbors.

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The decline in national production of Brazil nuts (or Brazil nuts, as the seed is also known) and health restrictions were two of the main factors responsible for the drop in shipments. As part of efforts for Brazil to regain its space, the Amazon Development Institute (Idesam) heard 27 organizations that work in the nut and cocoa chains in the Amazon region to map initiatives that face problems that the two crops have in common.

“It’s been 25 years since the nut problem happened, and we haven’t solved it on a scale, but some actors in the chain are solving it with good practices, technology and access to public policies”, says Carlos Koury, director of innovation in bioeconomy at Idesam. “The movement comes from both exporters, who are more attentive to the health protocols of importing countries, and the research area, which has developed technologies that allow this control to be increased.”

One of the initiatives is that of Abufarí Produtos Amazônicos, which was created in 2019 in Tapauá (AM) with the idea of ​​professionalizing chestnut collection. The company started to offer training to its suppliers, and from this, they began to adopt simple measures, but which make all the difference in the final quality of the product. With the changes, the value that these suppliers receive for raw materials is 15% to 20% higher than what is practiced in the market, says Leonardo Baldissera, director of the company.

Extractor Gildevan Amorim, 40, says that, in the past, he stopped collecting nuts because of the low price that middlemen were offering. The partnership with Abufarí improved the situation, according to him. “We started to have treatment that we didn’t have”, he says.

In addition to the price, working conditions have also improved, according to collectors. They receive personal protective equipment from the company and, with the installation of canvas structures next to each chestnut tree, they no longer need to camp in the forest during the collection period.

All efforts are made to reduce the level of intoxication of the product by aflatoxins, substances that develop in poorly preserved chestnuts and nuts and which pose a risk to human health. “We created a program of good practices in the collection part to isolate the fruit as much as possible from humidity, which is where the toxin comes from. From the moment it falls, the producer has 15 days to collect it”, says Baldissera.

It was precisely aflatoxin that started to block Brazil’s access to the main consumer markets in the European Union. Since 1998, the bloc has banned the import of products with levels of aflatoxins, which has hit the national extractive chain hard.

The work has paid off. Since 2023, Abufarí has ​​managed to export 30 tons of nuts, which went to countries such as the United States, Colombia, Panama, Israel and, more recently, Algeria. The company’s goal for this year is to triple this volume. “With global warming and the need for conservation in the Amazon, there is a growing interest among European consumers in what comes from the Amazon. This year, the idea is to accelerate this process”, adds Baldissera.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Brazil regain space nut shipments Agriculture

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