Brazil: working on transparency with WUR in the Amazon

The LNV network in Brazil promotes sustainable agricultural practices. One of these practices is ‘fruition of the forest’ and agroforestry in the Amazon. Starting this year we support the project “Absolutely Amazonian” in which Wageningen University and University College Dublin work with Brazilian partners to develop a system which can track and trace a product and proof/guarantee that it originates from a biodiverse system (forest or agroforestry system). The project focuses on three products: the superfood aҫaí, as well as cacoa and cupuaçu. Ramon Gerrits, Amazon specialist of the LNV team in Brazil and Max Garcia Hoogland, trainee at the Embassy in Brasília, took part in the first coordination meeting in Pará.


Why do we invest in transparency of agroforestry supply chains in the Amazon?

Beeld: LNV network in Brazil

Açaí is a superfood from the Amazon forest that is increasingly popular in Europe. The small berry is among others grown in the Northern Brazilian state of Pará, often in biodiverse agroforestry systems. With growing demand there is a risk that farmers change their production methods to mono culture to increase productivity to meet the demand. This could lead to deforestation while Aҫaí is one of the products that could support a bio economy in which nature and income for local communities go hand in hand.

What will the project do?

The project Absolutely Amazonian brings together experts from Wageningen, Dublin and Brazil to research the possibilities to ensure transparency of the supply chain for aҫaí and the two other products. Technically the project aims to design the Synergistic Technology Fusion System to trace the three selected commodities, açaí, cupuaçu, and cocoa, and products thereof from the forest to the final consumer. This is to ensure that products from deforested areas with monoculture production do not illegally enter the chain since this is detrimental to the whole concept of agroforestry, biodiversity-positive and socially-inclusive food production, and ruins consumer confidence. The project will end in December 2024. 

What are challenges for the project?

Beeld: LNV network in Brazil

Novel techniques that are capable of revealing the origin of products from the Amazon could ensure fair opportunities for everyone, promote nature by cultivating diverse crops together, and safeguard the unique knowledge and products of local indigenous people and their communities. However, developing such a tool needs a combination of local, national, and international knowledge, as well as a well-thought-out strategy tailored to the Amazon's unique circumstances.

Where can I buy/taste aҫaí in the Netherlands?

Aҫaí is a superfood that is also gaining popularity in the Netherlands. It is a purple berry that is usually served as ice cream. In Brazil, ice cream stands with Aҫaí are as common as Italian ice cream stores in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands it can be obtained as a frozen product from the major retailers. A must try!