For the Guarana growers of the Amazon, the caffeine-rich berries aren't just a fortifying brew but part of ancient tradition that respects their rainforest home.
Project goal: Growing Guarana without chemical pesticides to preserve the Amazon rainforest and cultural tradition
Project implementation: A farmer's cooperative is using indigenous techniques to grow rainforest. Guarana that has four times as much caffeine as its counterpart plants grown by the drinks industry, and is finding new ways to market its produce
Partner institutions: The Agricultores Familiares do Alto Urupadi (AAFAU) farming cooperative is one of the sustainable farming initiatives in the Amazon basin supported with consulting from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit as part of its Green Markets and Sustainable Consumption project
Guarana is rich in caffeine. Richer even than coffee, if it's grown right. Which is why international drinks companies have a presence in Maues, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, where it's produced. But the Guarana they use for their energy sodas is grown with lots of artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Indigenous communities, meanwhile, have their own techniques for cultivating Guarana deep in the rainforest without upsetting natural ecosystems. For them, the plant isn't just a habitual morning brew, it also has deep cultural significance, woven into ancient myths and legends.
A film by Detlef Urban