Cocoa production chain in Middle Earth, supported by the Projeto Redes do Médio Xingu, is a source of income for riverside families

Posted in: 06/26/2023

The production chain of cocoa in Middle Earth is one of the main fronts of the Middle Xingu Networks Project , developed by Synergia, with the aim of supporting income generation for riverside families in the Middle Earth Ecological Station , which is an extensive protected area no stop. 

Cocoa farming supported by Synergia is carried out through technical assistance and rural extension (ATER) , based on agricultural techniques, traditional knowledge and productive arrangements , which help from planting to the sale of cocoa and the search for access to the cocoa market . 

The Middle Xingu Networks Project supports a production model based on agroforestry systems , without harming the environment. This happens because it is an agriculture that captures, on average, 16 tons of carbon per hectare per year. 

In addition, cocoa is planted in conjunction with other species, such as copaíba and andiroba , which provide shade for cocoa and greater circulation of local fauna through cocoa farming . Hybrid cocoa is also used, which has greater resistance, as it is cultivated with several variants of cocoa. Such factors add value to the cocoa produced. 

The cocoa production chain is a great opportunity to generate income for the families of Esec Middle Earth. According to the Executive Commission for the Cocoa Crop Plan (CEPLAC) , a family can take care of, on average, an area of ​​5 hectares of cocoa , which corresponds to 5,000 trees . With each foot producing about 1 kg per year, it is possible to harvest up to 5 tons of cocoa. 

Who is part of the production chain of cocoa in Middle Earth 

In addition to cultivation, it is important to know the history of the families that are part of the cocoa production chain in Middle Earth and who often cross paths through blood ties. Furthermore, it is a way of understanding the reality of the forest , which depends on human respect to stay alive. 

Meet the cocoa producing families of Middle Earth: 

Domingas and Raimundo Nazario 

The couple Domingas and Raimundo live in Império Sorriso Bonito, on the banks of the Iriri River . At the beginning of the technical assistance , Raimundo seemed suspicious, implying that he did not agree with what he heard. But, because he had a lot of knowledge of the farm , the soil and the surrounding environment, he quickly understood the instructions and got the hang of cacao. 

The 2,700 trees planted grow vigorously in Sorriso Bonito, the empire of optimists Raimundo and Domingas, and should generate 250 kilos of harvest. 

Casal Domingas and Raimundo Nazário on the banks of the Iriri River. Photo: Synergia
The harvest of the couple Domingas and Raimundo should reach 250 kilos. Photo: Synergia

Marilene and Rosinaldo Gomes 

Rosinaldo and Marilene have 5,000 cocoa trees planted in their fields. Rosinaldo is the son of Raimunda Gomes, the oldest resident of Esec Terra do Meio. The Gomes family cultivates their garden with appreciation for details and following the technical guidelines they receive to apply to their 5,000 planted trees. The forecast is to harvest about two tons of cocoa.

Marilene and Rosinaldo's family with their two daughters and their son, Photo: Synergia
Marilene and Rosinaldo hope to harvest two tons of cocoa from Middle Earth. Photo: Synergia

Benedito Gomes (Bene) 

Benê is also the son of Raimunda Gomes. His garden is farther from the riverbank, about 2 km along a path that, in the rainy season, can be traveled through the forest by canoe. 

His garden is new, about two years old , and Benê is excited to plant new crops using the shading techniques he learned in the technical assistance sessions. Benê has dedicated himself a lot to cocoa and expects a great harvest this year. 

Family of Benedito Gomes (Benê), with 3 women and two men. Photo: Synergia
Benê is excited to make new plantings with shading techniques. Photo: Synergia

Cleonice and José Gomes 

José Gomes, known as Zé Boi, is the main reference among the residents of Esec Terra do Meio. His nickname is due to his physical strength, capable of carrying large amounts of chestnut . 

Zé Boi and his wife, Cleonice (Nicinha), inspire the region’s residents with their willingness to learn and invest in their fields , taking care of the future of their children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren who live around their property, today with 9,000 cocoa trees and an expected harvest of 2.5 tons in 2023. 

Cleonice and José Gomes in front of their home in Terra do Meio. Photo: Synergia
Cleonice and José Gomes expect to harvest 2.5 tons of Cocoa from Middle Earth. Photo: Synergia

Naldo and Francisca 

Naldo and Francisca are part of Zé Boi and Nicinha’s family. Francisca inherited her father and mother’s ability to work and inspired her husband, Naldo, who is also a carpenter. Naldo is constantly called upon to build barges and troughs for cocoa production. 

His cocoa plantation is not the largest, he has around 3,500 trees planted , but his harvest expectation for 2023 is optimistic: 250 kilos of Cocoa from Middle Earth . 

Naldo and Francisca during the recording of the documentary, in front of their house. Photo: Synergia
Naldo and Francisca hope to harvest 250 kilos of cocoa in 2023. Photo: Syneria

Maria and Roberto Gomes (Tijubina) 

Maria and Tijubina are considered the greatest enthusiasts of cocoa culture in Esec Middle Earth. It is not uncommon to find Tijubina selling her sacks of flour and corn to generate income and invest in cocoa farming , as she sees in it an opportunity to improve her family’s living conditions. 

The couple has 5,000 cocoa trees planted and consistent planning to increase their harvest year after year. 

Couple Maria and Tijubinha in the cocoa plantation of terra do meio
Casal has 5,000 cocoa trees from Middle Earth. Photo Synergy

Chiquinha and Zé Mineiro 

Chiquinha usually receives the Synergia technician, always in a good mood: “it’s great to have you here, man of God”, she says, already listing her doubts about the plantation. The cocoa plantation of Zé Mineiro and Chiquinha holds memories of the times of the matriarch, Maria, who already ventured into the cultivation of cocoa even before the implementation of the production chain . 

Currently, Zé Mineiro and Chiquinha have 4,000 cocoa trees planted and an expected harvest of 250 kilos in 2023. 

Chiquinha and Zé Mineiro in front of the plantation. Photo: Synergia
Chiquinha and Zé Mineiro have 4,000 cocoa trees from Middle Earth. Photo: Synergia

Tica and Edson 

Tica and Edson take care of their cocoa plantation together and take advantage of every second of the technical assistance to answer questions and understand the process. Tica likes to remember that, in the beginning, she resisted using the cocoa pruning technique , because “it hurt my heart”. Afterwards, when she saw how the plant reacted to the pruning , she changed her mind and understood that it was for the good of her garden. 

This year, 2023, the couple expects that their 5,000 planted trees will generate a crop of around 400 kilos of Cocoa from Middle Earth. 

Tica and Edson in front of their house in Terra do Meio. Photo: Synergia
Tica and Edson have great expectations for the 2023 harvest. Photo: Synergia

Next steps in the cocoa production chain 

Harvesting and transport are the next steps in the cocoa production chain and, as support, Synergia will pay for the freight to move the entire production of the crop that will go to the warehouse in the canteen of Esec Middle Earth.

To follow news on the cocoa production chain and other fronts of the Middle Xingu Networks Project , don’t miss Synergia’s news.

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