As a way of meeting national and international demand, extractivism and the planting of açaí and cocoa have soared in Pará. The rapid expansion has worried government officials and specialists, who want to ensure sustainable cultivation and prevent the monocultural advance of forest fruits.
From 2015 to 2021, state production jumped from 1 million tons to 1.4 million tons (40% in 6 years). In addition, the explosive demand for açaí made its price skyrocket and, in less than eight years, the price charged in cities in Pará rose 200%.
According to the director of Public Policies and Territorial Development at the Institute for Environmental Research in the Amazon, Eugênio Pantoja, ensuring that this growth is sustainable should be a priority for businessmen and politicians in the region. “If the açaí chain is dominated by monocultures and large industries, the forest could be deforested and extractive communities and family farmers could lose their livelihoods”, he warns.
The production of açaí in Pará, 94% of the national production, is mainly extractive. In municipalities such as Igarapé-Miri, Cametá and Abaetetuba, agroforestry crops, associated with cocoa and other native plants, meet 20% of the demand for açaí.
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