Above: PALSAMAD farmers harvest aguaje fruit.
Sustainable Superfruit from the Peruvian Amazon
La Asociación de Palmicultores de San Juan (PALSAMAD) is a group of sustainable farmers in Peru’s Madre de Dios region. They make their living in the Peruvian Amazon by growing pineapples, bananas, cassavas—and the vitamin-rich moriche palm fruit, which Peruvians call aguaje.
Aguaje’s popularity and reputation as a superfruit is growing around the world, making it a potentially crucial crop for the PALSAMAD growers and families who eschew mining in favor of a less lucrative—but more sustainable—profession. Unfortunately, PALSAMAD currently lacks the equipment and facilities necessary to process and preserve all of their aguaje for the marketplace.
You can help by funding their sustainable initiative and rewarding PALASAMAD's efforts to conserve the resources of Madre de Dios. Because here, nature is everything.
“Nature gives us the clean air that we breathe and makes us feel alive,” says Pedro Centeno Checalla, president of PALSAMAD. It provides his family’s income, he explains; it provides their food, shelter and medicine.
Help Make It Possible
PALSAMAD is directly comprised of 16 families; dozens more families throughout the region benefit from the association’s harvests. By transforming their business in order to better process aguaje, you can help secure a brighter future for families who have committed to economic activities that conserve their Amazonian home.
In order to properly prepare and transport aguaje, PALSAMAD needs outside investment. They plan on purchasing a fruit pulping machine and expanding their facilities’ washing and freezing facilities.
That way, they can refine and preserve their high-quality aguaje, sustainably providing not only for their families but for the world's superfruit needs. They can also better process ungurahui—another palm fruit whose oil is highly valued in the cosmetics industry.
Above: Aguaje fruit.
About This Project
This project is part of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA)—a USAID-supported program that is bolstering environmental protection efforts in the Andean region.
As part of its emphasis on sustainable livelihoods, the Rainforest Alliance is working through ICAA to administer a small grants program supporting hand-picked projects in the Peruvian Amazon that have proposed green ways to create income in their communities. All of these projects are committed to having a positive impact on the forest ecosystems on which they depend, and the Rainforest Alliance will work with PALSAMAD to ensure that the grant funds sustainable livelihoods.
By supporting the farmers of PALSAMAD, you throw your weight behind a vision of global sustainability and help prop up a family business that's conserving the world's largest rainforest. And you're doing it for a community that's prepared to preserve the Amazon in perpetuity.
“I want to harvest in a way that I don´t have to cut down the trees," says PALSAMAD member Fortunato Centeno Checalla.
Above: A PALSAMAD farmer scales a palm tree.
Below: A PALSAMAD farmer carries away his harvest.