With support for the cocoa production chain and implementation of a community canteen, Synergia strengthens the conservation agenda in the Amazon

Posted in: 03/28/2023

By supporting the cocoa production chain and implementing a community canteen , among other actions, Synergia has sought to strengthen a conservation agenda based on overcoming poverty and promoting better living conditions in traditional Amazonian communities , which are the that today interact more intensely with natural landscapes.

And to promote the conservation of nature and biodiversity in the Amazon , a development approach is needed that puts people at the center of debate and planning. Beneath the forest canopy that we see in satellite images, people live – whose knowledge and management practices have been part of nature for millennia. The Amazonian biome had strong traces of human hands, even before its massive post-colonization occupation. We are agents of nature and not beings that observe it from the outside.

For a possible future , which guarantees a friendly climate, we need to learn new forms of coexistence that allow, at the same time, the improvement of living conditions and the maintenance of the flows of forests and rivers .

Synergia employee and cocoa producer in the Amazon talk in front of their house. Photo: Synergia
Considering original knowledge is essential to assist in the sustainable development of communities. Photo: Synergia

Forest dwellers, like everyone else, have always made decisions based on their material living conditions. Thus, ensuring sustainable income alternatives for forest populations, which allow them to access dignified living conditions, is a decisive condition for achieving zero deforestation . There is no viable Amazon conservation agenda that does not address this reality.

In parallel to the actions of command and control of deforestation, it is necessary to strengthen chains that generate income in which the Amazonian communities play the role of central partners in the management and care of the forest.

A recent study by Instituto Escolhas points out that promoting in the Legal Amazon a reduction of 1% in the number of people in extreme poverty, and 1% of people in poverty , has the potential to reduce deforestation by more than 5% .

Imbued with this understanding and firm in its mission to effectively strengthen the sustainable development of the Amazon , Synergia has been working – since May 2022 – with the riverside populations of the Ecological Station (ESEC) Terra do Meio , in Pará, in one of the lines of action of his authorial project Redes do Médio Xingu .

Middle earth ecological station map. Image: Playback/Google Earth
Ecological Station Area (ESEC) Terra do Meio (PA). Image: Playback/Google Earth

ESEC Terra do Meio is a conservation unit that has an impressive 3.3 million hectares , an area larger than the state of Alagoas, and is home to a very rich socio-biodiversity : endangered species, such as the white-fronted coatá, and communities riverine communities that have ways of life through which historical knowledge about forest management is reproduced .

Given its great distance from urban centers, current trade alternatives sometimes have prices more than 100% higher than those practiced in cities. For this reason, Synergia is supporting the establishment of a community canteen , through which resident families will be able to access basic food and hygiene items at more reasonable prices.

Support for the cocoa production chain is a highlight

In addition to support for the implementation of the community canteen, support for the cocoa production chain has been one of the highlights of Synergia’s work in the region. The company has collaborated on several fronts so that eight cocoa producing families increase their production and distribution potential.

It is important to highlight that the cocoa crop has a high potential for income generation , compatible with the conservation attributes of this Conservation Unit and the limits imposed by ICMBio on agricultural practices.

This lowland cocoa – cultivated in agroforestry systems, in association with native species – has several advantages, which place it as a viable alternative in a sustainable production chain . First, because of the modest area that the crop demands: each hectare is home to around 1,100 cocoa trees, so that between 3 and 5 hectares are already enough for the workforce of a family unit, according to CEPLAC (Executive Committee of the Cocoa Crop Plan) .

Producers in structure for cocoa production. Photo: Synergia
Synergia’s support covers all dimensions of the cocoa production chain. Photo: Synergia

In addition, the cocoa calendar is well articulated with the other activities of the riverside culture . The collection of Brazil nuts , for example, the flagship of the economy of Beiradão, concentrates work efforts from February to April , while the main cocoa harvest takes place between May and June .

Cocoa also has greater market stability , with constant demand and prices with less variation, while nuts, for example, have suffered large price variations and a more complex demand.

Synergia’s support covers all dimensions of the cocoa production chain:

  • Technical assistance and extension in cultural practices – soil preparation, shading, seedling production, planting, pruning, harvesting, fermentation and drying;
  • Articulation of the local productive arrangement, facilitating dialogue between producers for integrated logistics solutions, such as storage and disposal;
  • Prospection of markets with greater added value, strengthening the sustainability narrative inserted in the final product.

The project to strengthen the conservation agenda in the Amazon will continue throughout 2023.


Text prepared by Mario Braga de Goes Vasconcellos – Socio-territorial Studies Specialist 

SDG8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG12 – Responsible consumption and production

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