Resuming a Territorial Development Alliance for Maués

Engaging the local community in actions for governance, economic strengthening and biodiversity conservation will promote integrated solutions and sustainable development in the region

January, 2024 – Maués, a municipality in the state of Amazonas, hosted a workshop in December 2023 with the purpose of reflecting on lessons learned from previous years of implementation of the Guaraná de Maués Alliance (AGM); and discussing the current and future goals set by the Alliance. 

The AGM resumed this year through a partnership involving USAID, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, the Partnership Platform for the Amazon (PPA), and AMBEV, together with local organizations and associations. This new phase of the Alliance has been implemented by the Terroá Institute, an organization that supports and facilitates participatory processes to develop integrated solutions and promote sustainable development.

The Alliance seeks to promote and foster actions aimed at territorial development and biodiversity conservation, including actions to strengthen local organizations and engage guaraná producers. It aims to strengthen the local economy through the guaraná production chain and the conservation of biodiversity in the Amazon forest.

Maués is 267 kilometers from the state capital Manaus. You can only arrive by boat – a trip that could take up to 16 hours – or by plane. With around 61,200 residents, the town is known as the “land of guaraná”, a product that is the basis for the local economy and the main source of income for the population.

In Tupi (a local Indigenous language), Maués means “curious” and “intelligent”. Maué also refers to Indigenous Peoples living in the region: the Sateré-Mawé, known for being pioneers in growing guaraná.

The Event – Representatives from USAID, the PPA, AMBEV, local community associations, and public authorities attended the workshop. 

“The spirit behind resuming our Guaraná de Maués Alliance is based on collaboration, transparency, and wide participation. We want to ensure the AGM becomes stronger and more representative of the wide diversity of local institutions and interests,” explains Patrícia Benthien, Project Management Specialist at USAID/Brazil. 

For AMBEV's head agronomist Miriam Figueiredo Frota, the AGM is an important instrument for local development. “We seek to promote greater community engagement, as they know better than anyone about their own needs and demands."

In this sense, Julia Garcia, from Instituto Terroá, highlights the importance of mobilizing and engaging local actors for social transformation. “Strategic planning is a continuous, participatory, and inclusive process. Therefore, we are listening to local communities (including Indigenous Peoples, even the most remote ones) and mobilizing leaders for the next event, scheduled for March. Most importantly, we are engaging with local communities on how they may contribute to the AGM's governance.” 

Guaraná – In its wild form, guaraná is a vine that grows around trees, but when it is planted in open areas, it takes the form of a bush. Guaraná berries grow in bunches. Their red skin bursts open when the berries are ripe, exposing their white pulp and black seeds—a peculiar shape that resembles a human eye.

Roasted seeds contain guaranine, a stimulant similar to caffeine. Consuming guaraná powder helps to improve concentration, relieves headaches, and helps to control cholesterol levels, among other benefits.