The Brazil Nut Observatory systematizes information systems and explores chestnut trees taxes

Participants gathered in Brasilia, at the OCA event - Photo: OCA
Event seeks to increase extractive workers

March, 2023 - The Brazil Nut Observatory (OCA) hosted its first face-to-face meeting in Brasília. Partner organizations, consultants, government officials, industry representatives, and businesses linked to the Brazil nut value chain were present. 

Participants planned strategies for the future of the network and evaluated their progress since OCA was founded. The event featured presentations on information system and a tax proposal developed to enhance their work, keeping in mind protecting extractive workers, who are historically the weakest link in the chain. 

The Brazil Nut Economic Information System is in the final stages of development.  The goal is to process and organize (on spreadsheets) all Brazil nut value chain information that is currently being shared in an OCA WhatsApp group. The system will also help to identify market trends, and could be used for other production chains to ensure fair prices for all extractive producers.

Ariane Kluczkovski, who works with  Brazil nut quality studies for OCA, presented the Amazon Quality System, ensuring that nuts produced in Brazil gain more international market space, currently dominated by Bolivia. 

In order to achieve this, OCA would like to work with Fiocruz on the accreditation of a laboratory in Northern Brazil to perform aflatoxin analysis (currently, all such analyses are done in the Southeast of the country). Aflatoxin is a fungi-produced toxin found in Brazil nuts – if ingested in excess, it could be harmful to human health. 

A proposal for a Brazil Nut Free Trade Area in the Amazon is being developed in partnership with the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and Conexsus. The proposal envisages an agreement with CONFAZ to exempt Brazil nuts from internal or interstate ICMS charges. ICMS is a state tax that must be paid on the movement of goods.

The exemption would not apply to products that use Brazil nuts as an ingredient. In order to benefit from this arrangement producers will present a forest origin certificate stating the product comes from a preserved forest area and that it promotes the socioeconomic inclusion of extractive workers and small farmers. 

"I am very excited, to tell you the truth, to be here today with community organizations from the Brazil Nut Collective, as well as cooperatives and associations. This event brings together companies that buy our nuts, companies that process and produce Brazil nut products, researchers, universities, governments, and a number of actors that work with the Brazil nut chain for decades. Everything here is a sign of intelligence, experience, and fantastic knowledge," declared André Machado, representative of the OCA Executive Office.

The meeting was supported by the Bioeconomy and Value Chains Project, developed under the Brazil-Germany Cooperation for Sustainable Development through a partnership between Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA).

The Brazil Nut Observatory aims to develop the Brazil nut value chain and improve the living conditions of producing communities, consolidating a fair and sustainable market that benefits everyone involved and promotes forest conservation.