Sociobiodiversity Economy: Building a Market that Helps protect the Amazon

Seminar helps strengthen community based enterprise networks

August, 2022— The seminar “Sociobiodiversity Economics: Social Market Construction”, held in Belém, Pará state  focused on strengthening ties and sharing experiences among  community based enterprises. The event brought together extractive women, community leaders, and networks of organizations that work to strengthen multiple-use forest management in the Amazon. They explored strategies to improve the marketing of sociobiodiversity products.

The initiative was led by the Community and Family Forest Management Observatory (OMFCF) in partnership with the Promoting Production Chains, Territorial and Environmental Management in Protected Areas project, supported by USAID/Brazil under the Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB). The project is executed by the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB).

“Our goal was to strengthen discussions among networks of community enterprises that work together with sociobiodiversity production chains in the Amazon, in particular açaí, Brazil nuts, wood, and pirarucu. Community and family forest management, as practiced by traditional peoples and communities, keeps the forest standing and presents itself as an alternative for building an environmentally sustainable, and socially and economically fair development model”, says Alisson Castilho, representative of the OMFCF Executive Office and coordinator of the IEB’s Territorialities, Forests and Communities Program.

The seminar marked the end of Formar Gestão (a continued training program for community enterprises in the Amazon), which is part of the Sustainable Value Chains project, developed under a partnership between USAID/Brazil and the Brazilian government.

Training started in July 2021 with about 40 participants from different value chains, including

Brazil nut, açaí, pirarucu, caiman, and sustainable forest management (learn more about it here).

The program was coordinated by IEB, and supported by Native Amazon Operation (OPAN), Vitória Amazônica Foundation (FAS), Pacto das Águas, Chico Mendes Memorial, Mamirauá Sustainable Development Institute, ICMBio, and the United States Forest Service (USFS).

Program - The seminar consisted of three thematic roundtables, the first detailed the management of community based enterprises in the Amazon. 

“Wild pirarucu management is a symbol of our fight, our resistance, and our relationship with

the preservation of Indigenous forests. It is a great achievement and, together with other activities run by us, it represents our history and community”, said Diomir Santos from the Jutaí Commercial Association, one of the participants.

Logistical challenges, pricing, access to marketing channels, and land conflicts were topics raised in several sessions. “Wood and forest management has always been and continues to be marginalized. In addition to generating income, it is a strategy to protect our land,” said Edilene Silva, from the Verde Para Sempre Extractive Reserve (learn more about management here).

The second panel acknowledged the economic and social relevance of sociobiodiversity chains for the Amazon economy. The last round of discussions addressed strengthening networking efforts to support value chains in the Amazon region.

During the event, women from the Beira Amazonas Collective Kitchen, in the state of Amapá, presented their book titled “Agroextractive Cuisine Recipes'', which includes ten recipes made from local fruits, oils, seeds, and other forest products. The Collective Kitchen is a community sustainable production initiative that engages agroextractive families and promotes female leadership. The seminar featured an exhibition and a handicraft market run by Warao Indigenous women.

The entire seminar is available here (in Portuguese).