Story Publication logo June 15, 2023

The Black Gold of the Amazon (German)


A person looks out on a reservoir

This project investigates environmental neocolonialism, its mechanism, and its consequences on the...


The following is an English summary of the report "Das Schwarze Gold des Amazonas," originally published in German in Stern. To read the original article in full, scroll down to access a pdf.

The açaí berry is considered a "superfood." Harvested under harsh conditions in Brazil, it is sold at high prices in Europe as an anti-aging miracle.

In this Pulitzer Center-supported project, grantee Karl Mancini meets people who ask: Does the açaí boom make sense? Does the urban elite in Europe need a fruit from the Amazon? Does the Amazon need hip consumers? And, the most sobering question: Could this Indigenous berry even save the rainforest — as some claim?

Before the berry rush, harvesters were often very poor and always dependent on the prices of the commodity markets. The world market seemed to them like a distant force. No longer. Or as one fruit gatherer explained in this account published in Stern: Açaí has made for a “crazy world.”

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