Açaí is a typical fruit of the tropical forests of the Amazon that has numerous beneficial properties for our body, rich in vitamins and with a very peculiar flavor.
Açaí is gaining more and more space in the domestic and foreign markets. The product is processed to extract the pulp, which can be consumed in different ways, in juices, with other fruits and cereals, wines, sweets, and ice cream.
In snack bars in coastal cities, it is common to find Açaí juice with Guarana and the famous Açaí in the bowl. In addition to the general population, açaí fruit is widely used by athletes and the elderly due to its nutritional features.
Açaí has been consumed in the Amazon for a long time by the local population, who eat açaí pulp with tapioca flour, a traditional mixture of local food.
Currently, 90% of the açaí production market is concentrated in the Pará region, which distributes the fruit to the southern and southeastern states of Brazil, where it has been increasingly consumed, in addition to other countries, such as the United States and France.
In 2007, açaí was consecrated as one of the flavors of the year in the United States, according to a survey carried out by consultancy Mintel. Multinational juice and beauty products companies have adopted açaí because of its nutritional potential.
After removing all the pulp from the açaí, it is used for fresh consumption and in the preparation of several dishes. The stone is reused in crafts and as organic fertilizer after its decomposition. Açaí strain and canopy leaves are also used.
Approximately 30% of the strain in adulthood can be removed every five years and used as a mainstay for rustic buildings, slats for pens, rafters for covering tents, and used in the manufacture of cellulose. The leaves of the canopy are used as cover for houses by the locals, when green, and the leaves of the açaizeiro also serve as food for oxen and pigs.
Açaí and the Economy
The commercialization of açaí is of high economic importance for the states of Pará, Maranhão, Amapá, Acre, and Rondônia.
In Pará and Amapá, the economic survival of the riverside population depends on the extraction and commercialization of açaí. The financial activities related to the marketing of the fruit and the processes of extraction and transportation of the fruit are responsible for the generation of income and 25 thousand direct jobs, representing R $ 40 million reais to the annual revenue.
In addition to the economic issue, the increase in the consumption of açaí has another positive point, the reduction in the extraction of the açaí heart of palm, with the rise in the sale of fruits, a new economic activity has emerged for the riverside residents; thus the extraction and purchase of the fruit of the açaí generates local and national economy, bringing benefits and ecological conservation to açaí palm trees.
Sustainable Cultivation and Income Generation of Açaí
Many poor communities in the Amazon are using the sustainable cultivation of açaí as a source of income generation.
In addition to the açaí trade, the plant is used in its entirety, that is, taking advantage of all its parts, either as organic fertilizer for other crops or using leaves and seeds of açaí in handicrafts.
Açaí is a sustainable product because it can be fully used, becoming a raw material of high socioeconomic importance.
The FLONAS initiative project – Working Groups of Consultative Councils of National Forests – aims to enable knowledge of the conditions of exploitation of native and planted açaí, its derivative products, its marketing chains, in addition to the planting or harvesting areas. Native fruit in the BR163 region in the Flonas Itaituba I, Itaituba II, and Trairão.
This project provides knowledge for the sustainable use and trade of açaí in this region, where the species is abundant, to improve the quality of life of the population and promote an increase in family income.