Co-building knowledge and consolidating quality markets for the products of the socio-biodiversity in the Amazon - Açaí’action

The project is helping players in the açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) supply chain to promote this specific resource and associated local know-how, develop agroecological practices and consolidate quality markets, to drive an innovative economic dynamic.



The countries and regions of the Guyana Shield share a range of challenges that must be tackled in order to achieve sustainable territorial development, particularly preserving tropical rainforest biodiversity, and recognizing and ensuring the socioeconomic inclusion of rural and traditional population groups. Global changes are pushing such groups to change their practices and lifestyles, often with negative environmental impacts. These changes often result in a loss of local know-how relating to biodiversity use. Local people’s economic development and biodiversity conservation are often seen as mutually exclusive, but this project considers the use of the resources available in the Amazon by its inhabitants to be a lever for sustainable development.


The project centres on knowledge co-construction and sharing by three Guyana Shield countries:  French Guiana, Brazil (Amapá, Pará) and Surinam. It includes research and training/exchange activities.

1) Research activities
  • Agroecological practices and sustainable management of açai in the natural environment and in agroforestry systems: installing and monitoring plots in the natural environment and planted agroforestry systems.
  • Studies of the local know-how held by the people involved in producing, processing and marketing açai, to understand current change processes on a cultural, economic and technical level, and possible heritage creation processes.
  • Analyses of value chain governance, to boost stakeholders’ knowledge.
  • Analyses of processed product quality: dissemination of knowledge built up in Brazil to help smallholders and processors meet current sanitary standards, characterization in chemical terms of the quality of açai juices (pulp) from various terroirs.
  • Crosscutting research on issues such as protecting local know-how and building quality markets for the products of socio-biodiversity.
2) Training and exchange activities
  • Six training sessions organized by transnational teams in each of the project’s three rural family homes, for groups of 20 to 25 “learners” already working with açai in one way or another. These courses, which relate to how various facets of the value chain operate, whether on a small scale (short circuits) or an industrial scale (export circuits), encourage participants to share their experiences.

Expected changes

  • Researchers will have improved their knowledge of the product and its environment, the value chain and its stakeholders, levers for and obstacles to its development, and complementarities between regions.
  • The participants will have a better understanding of value chains, how they operate and the demands involved.
  • They will be able to build upon their own knowledge and work.
  • Production and product quality will have improved.
  • On a collective scale, improved knowledge among the stakeholders in the value chain will have improved the circulation of information, organization within short circuits, and coordination between short circuits and export circuits.

Expected impacts

  • The stakeholders in the value chain will be recognized by the authorities in the three countries.
  • Instruments to protect local know-how and practices will have been introduced.
  • The value chain will have been developed, with minimal impact on biodiversity.

Contract partners

  • University of French Guiana
  • IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)
  • UNIFAP (Federal University of Amapá)
  • UFPA (Federal University of Pará)
  • UnB (Federal University of Brasilia)
  • University of Surinam-AdeKus
  • IPHAN (National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute - Brazil)