Promoting the revitalization of rubber in the Amazon, generating income with inclusion, avoiding deforestation and rescuing the rubber tree identity is what moves the work of Encauchados de Vegetais da Amazônia.
Through the sustainable organic extraction of native latex, using social technology and involving indigenous peoples, rubber tappers, riverine communities, quilombolas and agrarian reform settlers, organic slippers made of native rubber and vegetable fibers, in addition to utensils, bio-jewelry, accessories and packaging are produced.
The idea of the business came from the devaluation and dismantling of the rubber market in the Amazon, a process that left rubber tappers without support, forcing them, many times, to migrate to the outskirts of cities or to clear land for cattle ranching. Francisco Samonek, founder of Encauchados de Vegetais da Amazônia, started the project in Acre, with the so-called ecological leather, and little by little the business, which rescues the indigenous technique of making rubber by adding it with other processes, became a social technology, receiving non-refundable resources from sources such as CNPQ, FINEP, Petrobras, Fundação Banco do Brasil and Caixa Econômica Federal. Two universities, UFAC and UFPA, were involved in the development of the business.
The business was born from Francisco’s master’s project at the Federal University of Acre and has won several awards. Today, it has two patents granted – handcrafted and rubberized vulcanization – due to the entrepreneur’s research.
“We improved the quality of the products, proposed a bolder design like that of the leaves, and today we are a chain, the Rede Ecoforte dos Encauchados, which has 75 extractive communities involving approximately 1,500 people in the manufacture of handicrafts, located in Feijó, Tarauacá, Sena Madureira in Acre, Boca do Acre and Borba in Amazonas and Breves, Curralinho, Anajás, Oriximiná, Belterra, Santarém, São Francisco do Para, Acará, Belém, Castanhal, Inhangapi, São Miguel do Guamá and Senador José Porfírio, in Pará. And another 84 families work in family units, producing rubber for the manufacture of flip-flops,” says Francisco. These 84 families, located in the municipalities of Anajás and Santarém, are in the process of registering with the Ministry of Agriculture as producers of organic latex.
Until 2015, the group only worked with handicraft production. In recent years, the rubber flip-flop from native rubber was developed, which has become a collective economic enterprise. Two organizations are involved in the production: the NGO Poloprobio – which carries out activities to develop and replicate the social technology of Encauchados – and COOPERECO – a cooperative that turns rubber into flip-flops.
“We managed to transform rubber tappers into entrepreneurs and produce, at the field level, an improved rubber. Thus, in the Cooperative we eliminate the most expensive and polluting part of the rubber production chain, which is machining. For the cleaning of each kilo of rubber, a processing plant uses 10 liters of water. We don’t use water. The rubber tapper produces clean rubber with little moisture, which reaches the cooperative and goes straight to the production of the flip-flop”, points out Francisco.
Another important point in production is the elimination of all petroleum-derived additives in the processing of rubber, replaced by natural products such as vegetable oil, carnauba wax, vegetable stearine and other vegetable fillers from agribusiness residues – açai, muru-muru, Brazil nut, andiroba and pracaxi.
The Encauchados product is present in more than 20 stores in Belém, Recife, Belo Horizonte, Florianópolis, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Currently, the business is in the process of fundraising to expand the industry and implement controlled production financial units (sustainable extraction). It also targets the foreign market.
What was said about the business
ENCAUCHADOS DE VEGETAIS DA AMAZÔNIA
STAGE OF BUSINESS
ABOUT THE BUSINESS
Production and sale of footwear, handicrafts, bags and accessories with native latex using social technology.
WHAT DOES IT SOLVE?
Revitalization of rubber in the Amazon, generating income, inclusion and autonomy for family producers, in addition to preventing deforestation.
POSITIVE SOCIOENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
Income generation (1 to 2 minimum wages per family). Improvement in the quality of life. Diversification of income source (complementary to açai). Capacity building and training. For each kilo of rubber produced, 1 hectare of forest is preserved.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
Bags, placemats, tablecloths, shoes, sheets and water lily.
Export of Brazilian products to 55 countries. Revenue of BRL 15 million/year and 15% of net margin. Strategy to access the assembled market and extensive expertise in international trade. ISO certification, complete team and very solid management processes.
DOES IT MAKE ITS PURPOSE CLEAR?
DOES IT MONITOR ITS IMPACT?
FRANCISCO SAMONEK E MARIA ZELIA MACHADO DAMASCENO