BUSINESS: Instituto Raoni
CITY: Brazil
Country: Brazil
The Raoni Institute (IR) was created in 2001 to promote sustainable forest management and the protection of the territories, rights and cultures of many indigenous peoples such as the Kayapó (Mebengokre), Juruna (Yudja) Trumai, Tapayuna (Kruwatire) and Panará (Krãyakàrã). The IR takes the name of the flagship organization Cacique Raoni, fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples for over 30 years in Brazil and abroad. Today, the IR has the status of a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (Federal Law 9790 of 03/99) and is headquartered in the city of Colider, Mato Grosso. Indigenous popoulations served by the Raoni Institute's projects inhabit the "Arc of Deforestation" region in the southeastern Amazon forest, where, in addition to facing the highest deforestation rates in Brazil, the local population experiences severe land-based violence. Their territories, life rights and ways of life are constantly threatened by invaders, especially farmers, loggers, miners, fishermen and “grileiros” (people attempting to reclaim land ownership using old treaties transferring ownership of public land). As an alternative to these strong anthropic pressures–which ultimately lead to the forest’s destruction–the Raoni Institute promotes activities that strengthen the traditional local economy, leading to the forest's recovery and the protection of indigenous territories. The Institute’s activities are supporting the development of the sustainable extraction of forest products such as honey, pequi fruit, the tonka bean, and cassava/manioc flour. Other leading products are indigenous crafts, CDs with traditional music, and DVDs of the Kayapó nation’s festivals and customs. In 2015, they sold 250 kg of copal, 5760 kg of flour, 100 kg of Cumaru, 1830 kg of pequi, and 5260 craft pieces. This production contributes not only to the strengthening of sustainable production chains at the local level, but also generates income and food security for some 300 indigenous families in the area.