Coconut Breakers Create Consortium for The World Market

Cooperativas and women's associations hope to increase scale, income and preserve babassu palm trees in Maranhão

Lago do Junco (MA)

Today Maria Gomes da Silva can extract 3 kg of pulp from babassu coconuts, but there was a time when she removed 10 kg, from Monday to Friday – or Saturday. There was a time when the daily 10 kg would earn her 1 kg of rice or coffee with middlemen and farmers who owned babassu plants. Today, she can choose between receiving R$ 3.80 per kilo and exchanging the lot for goods among the more than 2,500 items in the eight canteens in the region.

Cantina is the local name of the COPPALJ (Cooperative of Small Agroextractive Producers of Lago do Junco) market, one of the 12 organizations involved in the creation of the Babaçu Free Consortium.

The consortium was created at a general meeting in March and is part of the effort of the coconut breakers to conquer the international market with a sustainable product of traditional origin.

The traditional process of removing the babassu oil is inefficient, as it removes about 20% of the fat from the pulp, which actually contain 60% of oil. At the factory installed by COPPALJ in Lago do Junco, they achieve an income of around 56%.

In the conventional babassu oil market, common oil earns R$7.50 per kilo while refined oil reaches R$ 15. With certification, it can reach R$ 20. In Brasília, R$ 30 – this is what is called adding value, key to improving the income of women breakers.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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