Acai is a wild plant belonging to a common species of the palm tree. The majority of it is found in most parts of the Amazon forest in the Southern America. Like the palm tree, this particular species has a lot of significance to humankind (Riches of the forest, 72). Acai produces fruits in bunches which are edible. A single tree of an Acai produces many branches making it the best alternative to the palm tree. This tree and other species of palm produces edible fruits and this subjects them to numerous commercial activities in raw or after industrial activities. The consumable product of the palm group including Acai is the palm heart which is widely produced by the rainforest countries, are mainly imported by nations including USA, France and many others (Sabri, 28). Within the rainforest region, many registered smaller firms are selling its products to different agents from outside nations,
There exists hundreds of unregistered smaller business groups and families that sell their products in bigger cities and industries carrying out the processing activities. Across time, there has been a tremendous change in the income of the people in this region as many depended on the palm but rather forgot about the sustainability of the available species. The population of Palm trees has fallen drastically, and this has made Acai remains the primary source of palm heart. The question that remains unanswered is whether the currently available species and which is the sole source of income will be sustained by the community members or not. The stability of the natural vegetation and its impacts towards the environment is being affected negatively (Chiras, 24). Furthermore, the economic position of the modern ribeirinho communities is in doubt. This paper details the position of Acai to the community, its value chain and the distribution of income among the stakeholder. Also, it dwells on the environmental impacts, sustainability, and the position of the private investment, federal state and non-governmental organizations towards the wake and future of Acai enterprises.
Value Chain and Income Distribution among stakeholders
The key players of the Acai business are the new Suberinho communities. It is the city that controls much of the operation governing the success or failure of the Acai products. The fact that activities are grounded in the heart of the modern Subeirinho communities who may be aware and have not emphasized on the ways of increasing profitability, extensive changes can be done through the involvement of external bodies and their initiatives (Lava, 42).
Regarding the supply of Acai products from the farms, Modern Suberinho communities frequently make use of the middlemen and brokers to ensure their produce reaches the industries and appropriate markets. It is an act that has reduced their profitability hence need for an avenue of limiting the operations of the brokers and intermediaries for the purpose of increasing profitability. Frequently, brokers find their ways into the firms, buy products from the locals at a lower price and transport them to Belem, the capital and major market that concentrates all the production from the estuary and state of Maranhao. Middlemen also act as intermediaries between the Suberinho Farmers, consumers and industries. For this reason, several intervention measures can be undertaken to enhance the profitability and ensure sustainability of the Acai produce. These include the following:
i. Formation of Farmers Union
Farmers unions operate based on principles and agreements from the locals. It is imperative for the suberinho communities to give consideration to this notion as it is significant in concentrating the income among the farmers. Through this Union, the farmers may be able to form a common pool of funds that can be used to maximise production and hire external source of a workforce. It will be of great assistance in reducing the seasonality of production which is mainly related to fluctuations in the economic returns of the farmers. Also, the shared pool is relevant in the provision of funds to the extent that the farmers themselves invest in the purchase of their motor boats. It is an act that will reduce the operations of the middlemen making them reach the consumers and superfood industries in Belem to increase profitability.
ii. Implementation of Closer processing plants
Formation of the industries closer to the farmers is a major way of improving the profitability among the new Suberinho communities. For example, the existence of the Sambazon Company in Amapa which makes juices, Sorbet and the smoothie packs from the palm hearts has made immense profits. The cost of transportation, payments of the middlemen and other miscellaneous expenses are significantly reduced. Through this implementation, the farmers will focus on ways of improving productivity and not market search. It is likely that the food security of the modern Suberinho community is likely to elevate.
iii. Improvement of Infrastructure within the local community
To ensure maximum profitability, the government through their representatives and the local authorities should construct roads within the impassable areas of the Amazon region. The motive is to enhance transportation of products from the domestic firms to the industries located in the cities. Additionally, there should be collection points within the new Suberinho community so as to minimize the movement of the people and let them concentrate on the production process. It is important to understand the fact that even if the government moves ahead and achieves this, economic aspects such as taxation and customs duties especially to those interested in exportation may be a challenge. The government, needs to subsidies transportation costs and tax for the purpose if increasing profitability and encourage people to engage in the production process. For purposes of sustainability, the government should also devise ways of creating alternatives by controlling consumption and excessive exploitation of the palm hearts.
iv. Conservation and sustainable management of natural resources to increase resilience and reduction of disaster risks.
Investment into the local Acai farms is one of the best intervention programs that can be used to assist the Suberinhos and ensure higher profitability to the land owners. This form of investment should be responsive to the extent of ensuring sustainability of the natural resources by curbing the likelihood of disaster strikes. To ensure the success of this measure, the forest reserves and the remaining number of Acai should be conserved for the purpose of ensuring sustainability (Chiras, 25). This measure cannot work without the support of the people.
The conservation of the Acai through responsible exploitation and economic involvement is imperative in meeting sustainability managing the resources that ultimately works for promoting of the long-term profitability on the side of the natives. For purposes of sustainability, the community needs to be informed on the best practices to employ so as to take care of the Acai. Also, for a long time, the new suberinho communities have been making profits from the sales of palm hearts. Even after attainment of the benefits, they have done nothing to compensate for the damage they have caused to the environment (Schwarzenbach, 48). The basis lies in the fact that they are not adequately informed of the means and manner in which they can minimize the exploitation process and still end up maximizing profits.
v. Foster Inclusive Economic Development
The fact that the modern Suberinho community entirely depends on Acai products as their staple food and source of economic stability, they are a threat to the future of the Acai species and food security of the people. It is imperative for them to focus on other means of creating income besides dominating the available option. It can only occur through adequate investments and proper civic education to inform the Suberinhos about the other possible ways of creating income.
Additionally, the government can enhance the profitability of the people through the creation of research institutes within the local areas like the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFR). The purpose of such amenities is to carry out research about the available resource in the community and how they can be used to better the lives of the people. For example, the rainforest region is known for fertility and high productivity (Duncan and Jessica, 14). Ideally, this implies that other economic activities such as farming can occur in such places. It is the interest of the government to protect the people against hunger and any other uncertainties related to the primary needs of the community. Through the provision of other avenues of creating income, the few who will have been left with the opportunity of involving themselves in the production of Acai products are likely to maximize their profitability contrary to the original situation.
Sustainability and profit maximization objective can both be achieved together. The primary area of focus should be the creation of alternatives so as to reduce overdependence of the people on the Acai produce. If few people are involved in the production process, profits are likely to be maximized, and sustainability achieved.
Position of the Private Investment
Any form of investment is paramount to the success of the Acai products among the modern ribeirinho communities at large. Private institutions can provide funds to the community. The funds provided is essential in the creation of civic education so as to increase awareness of the people. To solve some of the communal contradictions, the private sectors can conduct the following:
i. Engage and empower youths
Young people are known to be the stem of any community. Lots of the collective responsibility related to commercial activities are regularly undertaken by the young people. If private sectors intervene and provide an alternative source of income to the young people, environmental damages are likely to be reduced. Another way, due to to the fact that young people are the ones involved in the business, private investors may opt start institutions within the areas with a motive of assisting the youths. A practical example to this can be, the establishment of joint youth groups or cooperative where the teenagers save their income. By bringing the child together through such a forum, it will be very easy to communicate to them and make them aware of the critical environmental issues and impacts that their commercial activity has to the local environment and how it changes the global climate.
ii. Promote health food systems
Another way that the private organizations can solve the contradictions within the community is through the provision of healthy food for consumption. Being that the modern ribeirinho communities are used to the use of palm hearts as their staple food, the private organization can address the food issue through the provision of alternatives (Duncan and Jessica, 15). In this case, alternatively provided may not be necessarily ready food for consumption but may also be seeds of a particular cash crop suited to grow in the rainforest region. These seeds may be issued in groups, and in the long run, the company assesses the produce to be able to determine the level of assistance. The farm materials, in this case, may be for commercial or consumption purposes. As time goes by a given section of the community may be interested in a different line of production besides the Acai products.
The role of the state and the federal government
It is the primary mandate of the state and the federal government to take care of its people together with the environment. The government should be able to asse...
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