2. Freeworld’s Work

Freeworld Trading Ltd

Brazil Nut Project Summary

– November 2011

Freeworld Trading is committed to sourcing products yielded from sustainable systems.  Freeworld values the systems that we source from, and it is for this reason that we wish to give something back.  In this respect the focus is on the environments and communities where our products originate from.

To reinforce this, Freeworld has recently employed an ecologist, who will investigate the product range focusing on their sustainability and “green” credentials.

A logical place to start would be one of the company’s biggest products: Brazil Nuts.

Brazil Nut Project Case Study

The Freeworld Trading Brazil Nut Project is now underway.  The project is evolving and narrowing in scope as our work in this area progresses.  An update of the project is given below.

Firslty, Freeworld Trading wanted to satisfy itself that the Brazil nuts trees and their habitat were not being jeopardized by over harvesting of the Brazil nut.

Progress to Date

We have consulted with a number of prominent experts and botanist who have carried out studies on Brazil nut tree population dynamics, harvesting regimes and tree regeneration in the Amazon.

This research has convinced us that in the regions we source from the nut harvesting levels are not a major threat to the overall sustainability of the Brazil nut tree. 

In fact, we have found that the major threat to the sustainability of the Brazil nut trees is a wider problem affecting the Amazon; deforestation.  We have learnt that the best way to combat deforestation is to show that the forest is more valuable standing than being felled and converted to other land uses, such as extensive cattle ranching.

Outcomes and Deliverables

To help the local communities and rainforest environment Freeworld Trading will be working on two themes:

1. Adding Value to Amazonian Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) – We are working with our friends and partners in the Amazon region, as well as UK-based organisations such as Kew Gardens to identify, promote and market other NTFPs that can be collected in a sustainable fashion from the same areas of forest in which the Brazil nut trees grow.  Freeworld Trading can use its experience as a successful niche food commodity trader to develop these products and markets.  This will diversify the range of products that the local communities rely on and in turn this should strengthen the local forest economies.

2. Best Practice Guidance for Collectors – working with agencies and experts such as EMBRAPA (the Brazilian Agricultural and Environment Agency) in helping to collate and more importantly distribute guidance to the collectors and processors.  We will use our strong supplier relationships as a method to reach a large number of stakeholders with the guidance package. This guidance will include advice on things such as how to identify young Brazil nut trees and protect them in the forest and education on the role of the agouti as the main seed disperser of the trees.  The guidance will also inform the nut collectors of other important food species that have the potential to be collected sustainably for the local, national and international markets.

Boosting Brazil Nuts

Maintaining the demand for Brazil nuts in the UK and Europe will also be a key theme in Freeworld’s strategy for adding value to the forest.  A number of people from scientists, conservation charities, to the local processors themselves have made a similar point.  They have all highlighted the need for Brazil nuts as a commodity to have a market value that is appropriate to the quality and significance of a product, which is helping to protect the Amazon rainforest from land use change.  Freeworld Trading will be developing a wider awareness raising programme that will highlight the special story of the Brazil nut and help drive continued demand for this wonderful nut.

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