Project June 21, 2021

Brazil Nut, the Gold of the Standing Forest



The Zoró Indigenous people of the Zoró Indigenous Land in the Brazilian Amazon have a conflict-ridden history. Located in the new arc of deforestation and with signs of isolated Indigenous people, the region faces the advancing threats of fires, deforestation, and illegal mining.

The collection of Brazil nuts, a traditional Indigenous activity, has entrenched itself as an important source of income and as a political issue: In 2020, Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) attested that the Zoró involvement in this supply chain reduced the number of total wood trucks in the territory.

About 700 kilometers away, in Juruena, the small-holder farmers cooperative Vale do Amanhecer (COOPAVAM) signed a partnership with the Zoró and five other Indigenous peoples for the commercialization of Brazil nuts. In addition to guaranteeing income and fair contracts, this articulation is also an alternative to illegal collection activities.

This reporting project will investigate the impact of COVID-19 on these Indigenous communities and small-holder farmers as well as the role the Brazil nut supply chain plays in this crisis and the region's myriad future challenges.