Our Forest Our Home Welcomes USAID With Open Arms

A team from USAID/Brazil, PPA and Forest Trends visit Indigenous Land
Project encourages nut, açaí, cocoa and handicraft chains

April, 2023 - A team from USAID/Brazil, the Partnership Platform for the Amazon and Forest Trends visited four Indigenous Lands (ILs) in the state of Rondônia for the annual evaluation of the Nossa Floresta Nossa Casa [Our Forest Our Home] project. 

The group met with beneficiaries and organizations in the Kwazá, Tubarão Latundê and Sete de Setembro Indigenous Lands to observe the impact of some of the value chain activities supported by the project. Brazil nuts, açaí berries, cocoa and handicrafts were among the main value chains supported by the initiative. Additionally, the team  discussed territorial governance and forest restoration initiatives.

Nossa Floresta Nossa Casa project is part of the PPA’s Territorial Development portfolio. It is implemented by Forest Trends and Greendata, in partnership with the PPA, USAID and Alliance Bioversity/CIAT. The project strengthens Indigenous economic initiatives, the economic governance of ILs, and establishes commercial partnerships based on ethical trade principles.

“It was important for me to go to Rondônia and see with my own eyes the work that Forest Trends and their partners are doing with Indigenous communities there. The work of the project Nossa Floresta Nossa Casa targets that important intersection of Indigenous Peoples rights, well-being, and economy. The project strives to improve opportunities and gives access to differentiated markets through market linkages, improved quality of production, training, and basic materials for the production and processing”, says Catherine Hamlin, USAID/Brazil Environment Program Director.

Hamlin highlighted the project’s territorial governance angle as a critical component to the long-term sustainability of these forest-based value chain activities. “I was especially inspired meeting Indigenous leaders that spoke proudly about their history, their identity, and the ways that their children's future is connected to the surrounding forest. These are the voices most poignant in defense of the forest, knowing as they do how closely human lives are intertwined in and dependent on its existence.”

Indigenous who participates in the project shows cocoa plantation

New Opportunities - The project included a visit by Urucuna’s representatives to Indigenous communities. Urucuna is a company that works with wellness products for the home, mainly in the field of handmade candles with natural scents. Strengthening this private sector partnership and commercial articulations to contribute to the sociobioeconomy and the conservation of the standing forest is essential.

The visit included immersion in the artisan candle production process and harvesting of tucumã and Brazil-nut. Entrepreneurship, management and pricing workshops were facilitated and lastly, commercial agreement negotiation tools.