Training Programs Advance Indigenous Production of Açaí

This sustainable product’s value chain helps to preserve the forest

August, 2022—The Amazon açaí season ends in mid-August. For the past several months, youth, women, and other leaders at the Rio Branco Indigenous Land have trained to adopt best practices to improve their production. 

The Doá Txatô Indigenous association and the Rio Branco Indigenous Peoples Cooperative led the activities, which involved women and young people in the açaí production chain. They included training sessions at the Serrinha and São Luiz villages, as well as an agroindustry module, where participants learned how to improve managing their businesses.

The program materialized under the Açaí Initiative, which aims at structuring the fruit production chain, including training staff, providing logistical support, and implementing a processing unit at the São Luiz village, in the municipality of Alta Floresta d'Oeste, in the state of Rondônia. 

The Açaí Initiative is part of the Sustainable Value Chains project, a partnership between USAID/Brazil and the Brazilian government that involves 12 organizations working to strengthen the value chains of four local products: Brazil nuts, pirarucu, and community management wood, in addition to açaí. Supported by the Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB), the project is implemented by the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB) with technical support from the US Forest Service and a network of partners, including the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).

“The training enabled young people and women from other communities to become more engaged. They sought to understand how to apply different techniques, knowledge, and good practices to picking and processing açaí. This work encouraged young people to look after their açaí groves, keep the forest standing, and adopt sustainable practices as an alternative source of income, while strengthening agroindustrial production and generating more opportunities for those engaged in processing activities,” says Keli Réggias Dias of Pacto das Águas, partner by the Açaí Initiative.

In early 2021, the Açaí Initiative launched a brand, “DoAçaí”, to market the fruit pulp produced by local Indigenous people.

Açaí is the most widely extracted non-timber product from the Amazon region, and plays an important role in generating sustainable income for Indigenous families and traditional communities living in the forest. It is one of the production chains with the strongest participation of women.

 Açaí grows on a palm tree. The berries have a high calorie density and are rich in vitamins (A, E, D, K, B1, and B2), minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron), antioxidants and essential oils. Its harvest is based on ancient Indigenous practices, which are fortified by new technologies.

Learn more about the Açaí Initiative through "DoAçaí’s" Instagram.