Biodiversity in the Bolivian Amazon – source of growing profit
Over 500 families in 43 communities in the Bolivian amazon, are profiting from the sustainable production and trade of tropical fruit commercialized and promoted by Madre Tierra Amazonia SRL. Organised in associations, Bolivian producers working with Madre Tierra, are implementing an agroforestry system aimed at sustainable use of biodiversity. Through their low environmental impact and lack of fertilizers, producers are protecting areas with high economic and ecologic value species.
Based in the Bolivian Amazon, Madre Tierra employs between 15 and 20 local people from which 80% are women. The company comes to cover the lack of industrialization and trade initiatives of natural products in the country. Cupuaçu, chestnut, acai and other species are used to extract fresh pulp and produce oil and vegetable butter, later sold to the national and international cosmetic and food industry. Cupuaçu is the largest fruit being processed by the company, from liquor, butter and chocolate, to jam and wine, the possibilities of the use of this fruit are endless. However the Cupuaçu largest benefit is that cultivation doesn’t require deforestation, contributing to the preservation and sustainable use of the land.
Founded in 2002 Madre Tierra has always been committed to work under organic and fair trade principles. Besides from using the agroforestry system, producers associations participate in the decision making process of the company, determining, for instance, the price and payment options for the specific term. Joining the Union for Ethical BioTrade in 2012, Madre Tierra committed itself to continue acting under the sourcing with respect principles. ‘Economy can also be solidary, the better the (company’s) profit is, the better the producers can be paid’ (Alvaro Suarez, General Manager, Madre Tierra). In the upcoming years, Madre Tierra, will be aiming at positioning the different products based on the Cupuaçu fruit in the national and international market and introducing new products derived from the Bolivian Amazon biodiversity.
Starting as provisional trading member, Madre Tierra is UEBT trading member as for September 2013.