Associations from Rondonia state can now sell forest products

A new state public decree allows associations registered in the state of Rondonia to sell non-timber forest  products in a legal and regulated manner. Decree n∘ 23408 was signed in November 30, and published in December 3.

Traditional extractivist communities and indigenous people often face problems marketing and selling their products because “associations”– a very specific organization type in Brazil – are not allowed by law to earn profit from their commercial activities.

Pacto das Águas, a brazilian non-governmental organization (NGO) that works in the Brazil nut sector, consulted local communities to learn what type of organizational model would be best suited for them.  Pacto spokesman, Plácido Costa, explained that private company and cooperative models don’t get much buy in from traditional communities, either because they are hierarchical or that they don’t allow for community-type organization. Most local groups identified best with the association as the best type of organizational model for their communities..

“Before it had an economical function, the association helped to defend land, health and education issues. Even though this function  has a different purpose, the group identifies with the model,” Mr Costa explained.

Based on these consultations, Pacto das Águas worked with the Rodônia state government to change the legislation so that associations could have the state registration that enables them to send out invoices, and earn profit. Now, indigenous and extractivist associations can send invoices, which provides the legal guarantees they need for their communities’ commercial activities.


Other changes in public policies


This is not the first time Pacto has worked to change a public policy. In 2017, the USAID partner NGO helped to set up the state’s Food Acquisition Program (PAA), which governs how public authorities buy food products (for school meals, etc). The extractivist communities of the region already participated in the federal program, providing in raw Brazil nuts to the public school nutrition program, among other state activities.

“We talked about the federal PAA with state representatives, discussed the potential value for Rondônia, and worked together to create a state version of the program, which needed to be more flexible to be easily accessed by the traditional populations,” explained Sávio Gomes, Pacto’s Directing Secretary. On the 17th of March 2017, the 3993 law n∘3993 was signed to create the state program with the necessary adjustments for improved access for traditional peoples.