Working groups from the Maués Guaraná Alliance propose positive impacts for different sectors in Maués’ society.
By Henrique Saunier
Translation by Fernanda Barbosa and Felipe Sá
Photo Adriano Sarmento
The projects executed by the Maués Guaraná Alliance (AGM, for its name in Portuguese) are transforming different sectors of the local community: improvements in the market and processing of local products; organization and support for rural producers; strengthening of education as the basis of social development; diversity and the Maués cultural appreciation are the pillars of the socioenvironmental projects designed by the AGM Working Groups (WGs). The proposals of each WG were presented in a major meeting last April 3rd, in the municipality of Maués, and they are already being implemented.
“The aim of the alliance is to share the role of constructing regional socioenvironmental development with all the stakeholders in the municipality, understanding the importance of everyone as a transforming agent, capable of multiplying positive and replicable impacts”, highlights Ramom Weinz Morato, manager of the Sustainable Rural Production Program at Idesam.
One of AGM’s strategic Working Groups, Sustainable Production, has as front line the issue of production distribution and commercialization, since the lack of proper distribution conditions often discourages the Mausense farmer. The WG has already conducted a survey in Maués to identify what are the necessities at the Producer’s Fair, where structural and logistical problems were detected, as well as the need for training workshops for the people working at the fair.
Born in Maués, agronomist Laís Almeida, responsible for the Sustainable Production WG, emphasizes the high productive potential of her land, often underutilized by lack of technical knowledge or structure. “Numerous products end up spoilt in these properties due to lack of knowledge of use and processing. The producers are open to new techniques, new technologies. They have already felt the need to produce with better quality and less inputs. But I believe the key point is to make the population aware of the importance of consuming food from local producers”, comments.
One of the barriers faced by the WG is the lack of information available about the over 3.000 farmers in the municipality of Maués, which is essential for any planning that looks for improvements in the primary sector of the region. The proposal of the WG is to construct a virtual base of socioproductive information, built in partnership with local agents, EMBRAPA, the city hall, IDAM, IFAM, UEA and others, that will help to subsidize politics and actions on the segment.
The Sustainable Production WG also seeks, through cooperation partnerships with research and extension institutions, to provide new sustainable production experiences and to disseminate the already existent cases to farmers of over 200 communities in the Maués region. “Here, the intention is to praise what is working but looking at techniques that optimize the producer’s work while reducing the use of external inputs, enhancing the economy of property”, says Eric Brosler.
Traditional actions will be strengthened with the traditional “puxiruns”, where families and community members work collectively, something the Alliance has already promoted through meetings and exchanges between different groups of farmers.
The kick-off for this exchange between producers was already given in December 2017, when AGM mobilized farmers from the São Raimundo do Mutuca community to implement an agroforestry system. The mobilization, in addition to promoting the meeting of indigenous people, farmers, researchers and volunteers, was a moment of knowledge exchange, addressing topics such as soil preparation and fertility creation, organic fertilizer production as biofertilizers and planting techniques for seedlings and seeds.
Focusing on the high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition among children and adults, both in the rural and in the urban area, the WG also proposes the development of actions to value local foods, focusing on family farming.
Guaraná culture in schools
Although present in the daily life of the Mauesan people, the traditional culture of guaraná still has to be consolidated among the new generations, something that the Education WG seeks to do with the creation of a didactic material aimed at children’s education. With regional games, legends and songs, the project “Rescuing the importance of culture and nature in guaraná’s origins” was one of the proposals approved by the working group, which also intends to train (in partnership with SEMED and IFAM), at least, 40 teachers in 180-hour courses.
Currently, more than 700 teachers from the rural area of the Municipality of Maués do not have a degree or specialization. “We perceive a huge discrepancy in the quality and structure of the teaching between the rural and urban area of Maués. The (rural) teachers have fewer training opportunities and many only have a high school education”, emphasizes Paulo Adelino, from the Education WG.