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Yanomami launch chocolate with Amazon native cocoa

By March 5, 2020 No Comments
yanomami, indigenous, chocolate, cocoa

yanomami, indigenous, chocolate, cocoa

The first batch of Yanomami Chocolate, which will be presented to the public on 12/14 at the Mercado de Pinheiros, in São Paulo, is produced with native cocoa processed in the Waikás community and transformed into 1,000 50g bars by the chocolatier César de Mendes, in Pará Its formulation has 69% cocoa, 2% cocoa butter and 29% organic brown sugar.

The cry “Out of Garimpo!” that echoes against the invasion of 20,000 gold prospectors in the Yanomami Indigenous Land won the reinforcement of a unique product, capable of showing in a few grams the priceless value of the standing forest, the preserved territory and traditional Yanomami and Ye’kwana knowledge.

“The forest entities descended here at the factory and brought a perfume that we had not tried before. It is outside the curve”, jokes Mendes. “It is a chocolate with a presence in the mouth. It has a long and pleasant persistence, with balanced sweetness.”

The idea of ​​producing a chocolate came from Ye’kwana leaders, who sought to generate additional income for the communities and to confront the destructive logic of mining, which harasses and threatens the communities. The Ye’kwana realized that the forest offers another “gold”: native cocoa. The fruit that gives rise to chocolate is endemic in the area.

In July 2018, a workshop was held in the Waikás community promoted by the Wanasseduume Ye’kwana Association, with support from the Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA) and a partnership with the ATÁ Institute, so that Mendes could show indigenous people from different communities the techniques for harvesting and processing the cocoa fruits for the production of the raw material for fine chocolates.

At that time, something historic happened: the first chocolate bar in the history of the Yanomami Indigenous Land was produced.

“We have a lot of knowledge about the forest. We make basketry, handicrafts and we saw that our knowledge can generate income for the communities”, explains Júlio Ye’kwana, local leader who will be in São Paulo for the launch of his product. “We study in the city that chocolate is made from cocoa. And we saw that a cocoa plantation would be an alternative to mining,” he says of the project’s next steps, such as the planting of up to 7 thousand cocoa trees by 2021.

For him, the development of work with cocoa is a way of showing the world the reality and way of life of communities, in addition to being good and healthy. “We have wealth in nature and not in the basement. We have wealth up here and there is no need to destroy it. Instead of destroying people, we plant more, without leaving a wound in our land. Nature will not be irritated”, says Júlio.

The forecast is that a total of 1,142 people, from five communities, will benefit from the Yanomami Chocolate project.

According to Júlio Ye’kwana, the communities are excited to work with cocoa and believe that, like chocolate, initiatives to generate income in a sustainable way are strategic to offer alternatives to mining, especially for younger indigenous people. With the intention of President Jair Bolsonaro to liberate mining in indigenous lands – and to repeatedly affirm his interest in the Yanomami Indigenous Land – the relevance of these initiatives is even greater to unite communities and strengthen resistance against invaders and enemies.