We don’t want to seem like dreamers (although we are), or hippies (although there’s nothing wrong with that), but we do want to be idealists, the idealists that believe that every trip must have a purpose, that every company can be a social-environmentally responsible one, and that every aguaje palm can give fruits without being cut down.
Maybe, dear reader, you’ve never heard of it, seen it, much less tasted aguaje, maybe with a different name, but possibly not even like that. However, this Amazonian palm from which its fruit receives the same denomination, extends widely throughout the region and grows naturally, and the Amazon region sure is wide!
In this millennium of global changes we learned that the aguajales, that is, the populations of this plant, are the tropical (non-marine) ecosystems that capture the greatest amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
That said, we see that the aguaje has a very important role. But that is not all, because it is also a practically indispensable food in the diet of Amazonian communities, consumed in many different ways and in vast quantities.
So, the reason why this text is written and why we produced a video that we will present to you later, is that there is a great demand for the fruits of the aguaje that promotes its extraction in an unsustainable way, because ignorance and ease make the most used form of extraction of the fruit end the life of the plant.
For this audiovisual production, which is only a small part of a major project in the southern Peruvian Amazon, in which we recorded micro-documentaries and commercial promotions for different destinations, we contacted our partner company Estancia Bello Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon), who gave us all the facilities to record the AGUAJE capsule.
It is pertinent to say that the Estancia Bello Horizonte bears the name, for several reasons. The most obvious is the result of witnessing a sunrise, or sunset, with a view of the border that forms between its aguajal and the sky. The second is that Estancia Bello Horizonte exists for a single reason: to provide economic income to the Association for the Protection of Children and Adolescents (APRONIA) and source of work for young people (who decide to do so) by becoming independent from El Principito foster home, main arm of the aforementioned association.
The above (although we already knew it well) was a hit for us. We would record about the conservation of the water in the Estancia Bello Horizonte farms and also about the social work of APRONIA in the very same El Principito foster home. The result of the latter has a separate product that we will discuss in another publication.
But returning to the aguaje and aguajal of Estancia Bello Horizonte, which, although it is an incredibly beautiful vision, is also a sad reminder of what happens in the Amazon.
This aguaje forest that has 220 hectares is almost entirely made up of ‘male’ palms, most of the ‘females’ were cut down before the land got under protection of the company. But why? Because it’s the female palms that give fruit, and the most widespread form of harvesting the fruit is by chopping down the tree.
The second is that the relative protection provided by private property over the aguajal, also keeps the limit on informal mining, which looks for the wetlands that house these associations of palm trees to exploit the well-known golden mineral, and which for its extraction destroys everything in its path.
The irony is that few realize that gold is truly under the peel of the aguaje fruit that hides its intense yellow. With amounts of vitamin A greater than any of the most widespread foods with the micronutrient presence; and with the potential of being a product that gives enduring economic support to thousands of families, if it’s managed in a sustainable way.
The brief seconds of the brilliant “capsule” made by our friend Alexis Torazza-Gazzone demonstrate, what in a few minutes can be done, to harvest the fruit ethically and without killing the hen of the golden eggs.
Also RECOMMENDED to read and watch more of the Torazza-Gazzone work.