Value Chains Initiative brings together partners in Brasilia

During three days, 13 organizations discussed the difficulties they faced during the pandemic

April, 2022 - "Amazon sociobiodiversity products will reach world markets and change the lives of forest dependent peoples." This is the dream of the Value Chains project partners, who met in Brasília on March 22-24 to take stock of their work over the past two years. 

Organized by the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB), the event was the first face-to-face meeting of the group since the beginning of the pandemic. 

"It was a moment to take a break and reflect on the project. The idea was to take time to reap the fruits, and identify and outline new strategies to face the challenges that have surfaced. It was an opportunity to reconnect with our partners and reaffirm our purpose," said Andréia Bavaresco, IEB executive coordinator, who led the event.

During the three days of presentations, group dynamics, and teamwork, the 13 organizations present discussed the difficulties faced keeping the projects afloat during the pandemic. Despite some setbacks, the results were positive. The Beruri Farmers Association (ASSOAB), for example, revealed that the Ministry of Agriculture certified theirs as the first community-based Brazil nut processing plant in the country; and Taste of the Amazon announced it has now reached another two consumer markets: Brasilia and Recife. 

Most value chains included in the project saw significant results. Açaí producers provide a great example. They received support for harvesting, marketing and logistics, and mapped the areas under management. In addition, training was provided to local communities, including tree-climbing sessions and processing practices at the Aniá Extractive Reserve; new equipment was purchased; and açaí groves became denser in several properties. 

The Brazil nut chain results include the launch of the Bora Semear campaign (Let’s Sow); the strengthening of the Brazil Nut Observatory; training in standard operating procedures; and improved infrastructure for SEMEAR Castanha.

Among the achievements of the wood chain, the highlights were the credit line provided by Banco da Amazônia to operationalize the management of the Verde para Sempre Extractive Reserve; the development of nine management plans at Verde para Sempre; and the implementation of strategic planning in three Verde para Sempre cooperatives. 

One common thread in all projects was the strengthening of the gender agenda and the empowerment of women. "The presentations demonstrate women in the project are taking place in a meaningful way. They now have more job opportunities, and more access to decision-making spaces, so they can show their worth," celebrated Alex Araujo from USAID. 

For Araujo, the meeting was an enriching moment, which brought light to the importance of a project that accomplished so much, even in such adverse circumstances. 

Supported by the Partnership for the Biodiversity of the Amazon (PCAB), the “Sustainable Value Chains” Project works to conserve the biodiversity of protected areas in the Amazon and to promote the well-being and autonomy of indigenous and traditional communities in the Amazon. The project is implemented by the IEB with technical support from the American Forest Service, in addition to a network of ten partners, including the Federal Government through the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).