My first social entrepreneur meeting in Belem with was with Fernanda Stefani of 100%Amazonia. I contacted Fernanda through StartUp Stay, and despite being a busy entrepreneur, she was able to send me some great information on the area.
When I called to the office, I passed barrels of fruit pulp ready to be shipped to china, and acai roots ready to be shipped to the United States. For this is what 100% Amazonia does. It connects the local farmers of the Amazon, with the companies of the world that would like their produce. It provides fair prices to indigenous farmers, helps them collaborate to get the best deals, and then operates all the logistics of international trade. I’ll let Fernanda explain.
I was treated to a cup of thick, rich acai juice – it was some of the finest I have had in a country that loves acai. But it’s not just Brazil that loves the juice, the international market is opening up to it as well. In the UK, they already supply the Acai for Mangajo juice, and recently the ingredients for speciality Amazonian beers. Business and revenue has been doubling every year since they started in 2009.
The Amazon is rich in vegetation that can be sustainably harvested by local farmers, but how can they get these products to market? As Fernanda explained, international shipping logistics and documentation is quite complex, and negotiating with large companies would be difficult for individual farmers.
By creating a company, along with her partner Joziane Alves, they have managed to find a way to sustainably farm in the Amazon, making sure the farmers get a fair wage for their work.
Now – time for an Amazon beer I think..