Indigenous economy: books help publicize the importance of value chains in environmental and territorial governance

Publications bring data on the handicraft, chestnut, cocoa and açaí chains and were launched within the Nossa Floresta Nossa Casa project


“Consumers often do not know how forest products – chestnuts, açaí and others – reach the market. Showing the importance of these chains, how they develop throughout the process and valuing who is behind, especially indigenous peoples, are among the objectives of the publications”. This is how Forest Trends consultant Pedro Póvoa summarized the approach of the publications “From Indigenous Territories to Markets”.

The series, consisting of four books, is available online and brings, with didactic language and attractive visuals, information on the value chains of handicrafts, Brazil nuts, cocoa and açaí. The work is part of Nossa Floresta Nossa Casa, a project coordinated by the Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative of Forest Trends (ICGT-FT), one of the implementers of the Partnership for the Conservation of Biodiversity in the Amazon (PCAB).

The project has a partnership with Greendata – Center for Socioeconomic and Environmental Management and Innovation in operationalization and management, in addition to the strategic support of USAID/Brazil, Alliance Bioversity/CIAT and Plataforma Parceiros pela Amazônia (PPA).

The books introduce concepts about territorial governance and indigenous economies. They are organized in two parts. The first presents data, information and aspects of the chains and markets that indicate characteristics, challenges and opportunities. 

In the second, they address specificities of the indigenous economic initiatives of the Tupi Mosaic and the arrangements under construction where the project operates, including eight Indigenous Lands (TIs) and 21 peoples, which are also part of the Tupi Guaporé territory, in Rondônia and Mato Grosso. 

“There was a period when almost nobody did handicrafts anymore, but I always believed in it as a way of strengthening the Paiter Suruí culture. The publications will help in the dissemination”, said indigenous leader Maria Leonice Tupari during an online event to launch the books that deal with açaí and cocoa. 

Leonice lives in the Sete de Setembro Indigenous Land, in the municipality of Cacoal (RO), and was the state coordinator of the Association of Indigenous Warriors of Rondônia (AGIR) until the beginning of April. Founded in 2015, AGIR defends the rights of 56 indigenous peoples in the state through female representations, promoting women's empowerment and denouncing human rights violations. It was one of the partner organizations in the construction of publications.    

For Beto Borges, director of the ICGT-FT, the books are a milestone. “It is important to understand value chains as an instrument for environmental and territorial strengthening, in addition to promoting paradigm shifts that strengthen the ways of life of traditional peoples, establishing economic resilience,” he said.