Guayapi

GUAYAPI, FOOD (BUYER), BRAZIL

Guayapi is a French importer and distributor of wild plants from the Amazon Rainforest and the hills of Sri Lanka. Founder, Claudie Ravel, based the organisation on the principle that every ingredient they work with is organic, fair trade, and encourages biodiversity. Guayapi uses the Forest Garden Products (FGP) Certifiation to ensure this is the case when producing its food supplements, cosmetics, and luxury grocery items.

Guayapi has been buying Guaraná from the Consortium of Sateré-Mawé Producers (CPSM) for almost 25 years. Guaraná is a climber plant, indigenous to Brazil.

Known for its coffee-bean sized fruit, it is packed with a concentration of up to approximately 4% guaranine (a molecule similar to caffeine), and about 10% tannins.
Thanks to its naturally stimulating quality, Guaraná has become a prevalent ingredient in the energy drink industry, representing a growing market of around
$6 billion. Due to this growing popularity, the consortium was set up to protect authentic Sateré-Mawé Guaraná – referred to as ‘Waranà’ in their language, which means ‘the beginning of knowledge’ – and to avoid the potential industrialisation of Amazonian farming methods.


THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE

Guaraná grows on long-stemmed woody vines. The Sateré-Mawé people honour these ‘lianas’, referring to them as the
‘Mothers of Waranà’. They can reach a height of 12 metres with white flowers and red fruit occurring in the dry season. The
fruit then splits to reveal part of the seed and the white flsh, which resembles a human eye.

Waranà of the Sateré-Mawé (meaning Guaraná from the Original Lands) has been highlighted as a Presidium product
by the Slow Food International movement. Slow Food is a global, grass-roots organisation, founded in 1989 to prevent
the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions.

The CPSM group represents the forestry production of the Sateré-Mawé community, which consists of over 17,000
people, with Guaraná continuing to be the main product. 

Founder of the consortium and fair trade campaigner, Obadias Garcia Batista, said: “One of our main struggles continues to be the great spaces of the Amazon Rainforest. Our producers are scattered amidst 80 communities along several river tributaries
of the Amazon. Therefore, they stay at the mercy of ‘the regatões’ (intermediaries who buy at the lowest price directly from
the producers and resell to the industry at a higher price).

“This is why one of our Fair Trade Principles is that Guayapi advances at least 50% of the harvest amount to the CPSM. This way, we can prepay and secure our producers with a fair price well before the beginning of the harvest. This is what Shared Interest helped us to do in the last 2017/2018 harvest. Recently, we have faced strong competition with cheaper and lower quality Guaraná from other regions, which compete with our products in European markets. This impacted our fair trade activity. As our business activity became slower, we had less cash flow to prebuy the Guaraná from our indigenous producers. This means they could be more vulnerable to the mass market and lowpriced multinational soda companies.

“This is why we asked for financial assistance from Shared Interest. It helped us critically for the 2017/2018 harvest. Now our turnover is starting to increase well again. We hope to have a cleaner cash flw balance for the future harvests.More broadly, thanks to the Fair Trade Agreement with Guayapi, we have been able to give value to our Guaraná, and thus to our culture and territory.

“According to Guayapi, the Guaraná produced by the Sateré-Mawé, is unique in terms of organic production methods,
as well as environmental conservation, and preserving the culture and human rights of people living in the community.
This means that their actions are in line with an international agreement, which ensures genetic resources are used in a
fair and equitable way. This agreement is known as the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefits Sharing of Biodiversity (2010) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB).”


Read more