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About the importance of getting to know production chains and communities: MOMA visits RDS Uatumã

Photo: Rodrigo Duarte/courtesy MOMA

At the beginning of May, Vivian Chun, founder of MOMA – business accelerated and invested by AMAZ this year – visited the Uatumã Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS), in the state of Amazonas.

Accompanied by Julia Tatto, co-founder of Urucuna, and by Louise Lauschner, market access specialist in Idesam, Vivian, who uses raw materials from the Amazon and other Brazilian biomes in her products and practices fair trade – MOMA products have the Origens Brasil seal -, was in the RDS of Uatumã to meet the community that extracts and processes white rosin, produced by the species breu-branco-verdadeiro, a tree native to the Amazon that can reach up to 30 meters in height.

The fragrant resin has the appearance of a gray rock and solidifies at the base of the trunk, and its extraction and processing require a lot of time and artisanal work. 

Photo: Rodrigo Duarte/courtesy MOMA

One of the points highlighted by Vivian after the visit is related to fair trade:

“Since I started buying white rosin, in 2022, the value per liter has more than doubled. Of course we feel this impact, we have a complete cost plan for the final product for commercialization, but I would like to highlight that, being there with the community and seeing the manual work of extraction and processing, the current price still seems cheap to me. . First you need to enter the forest, which is a place that poses risks. Then there is the collection, transport to the plant, where the pitch is washed, and any and all wood residue is extracted, in each piece. The resin sticks, and this process takes time. After being washed, the rosin is crushed with a pestle, goes into the vats, and then goes through the distillation process, in short. Seeing this entire process, we value the raw material even more. There are many hands behind a liter of pitch.”

MOMA uses white rosin in five products: two deodorants, rosin and lavender shampoo and conditioner, and rosin and basil soap – the latter will soon no longer be produced, but will be replaced by another that will also contain the resin in its composition. .

The resin and vegetable oils and butters used in MOMA and Urucuna products have been purchased from Inatu Amazonia, a collective brand created by Idesam and extractive associations from the RDS of Uatumã within the scope of the Cidades Florestais project, financed by the Amazon Fund, to facilitate communication with the market. 

Idesam has worked directly at RDS since 2006, having been responsible for coordinating the preparation of the Management Plan and the implementation of its programs.

Louise Lauschner, market access specialist at Idesam, met Vivian a few years ago, during the entrepreneur's search for products with origin and traceability, and highlights that she has always shown concern about fair trade.

“This commitment is not only with Inatu Amazônia, but also with other suppliers in the Amazon and other biomes. It is rare to have a raw material buyer who goes to the extraction and processing site to meet the extractivists and understand where the product they receive comes from with traceability. This relationship is very interesting, because there is a real exchange between the production knowledge that the community has and that of the entrepreneur, the product industry. And from the beginning, Vivian demonstrated this interest in getting to know the extraction sites, she buys from other associations and wants to know the processes in more depth as well. This represents a benefit for her, because she gains even more knowledge to talk about the origin of the products.”

Photo: Rodrigo Duarte/courtesy MOMA

In the RDS of Uatumã, Vivian visited the communities of Boto, where the oil plant is located, and Bom Jesus do Angelim, where the group spent the night. She reinforces Louise's impression of the importance of exchange and connection: “Both I know their culture, which is different from mine, and they know what I do with the raw materials they extract with such care. How does this turn into a product. This generates greater connection, transparency, reinforcement of the partnership and appreciation of what they are doing. They realize that what they do generates value. And from my side, when I understand the context in which this raw material is extracted, their lives, the amount that is paid makes even more sense. This all reinforces that we are on the right path.”

Vivian took the MOMA products that have white rosin in their composition for the communities to learn about, and highlights that the reception was very good. Although he also took other products that do not have the resin in their composition, he noticed that the interest was much greater in those that included it as an ingredient. “It’s really beautiful to see how they connect with this raw material. It is truly something that they love and value, I could see a very genuine joy. And it was important to realize, through the testimony of Wanderley Cruz (manager of the Uatumã RDS Oil Plant), that our relationship makes a difference in their lives, because it guarantees a real source of income.”

Photo: Rodrigo Duarte/courtesy MOMA

“I think talking about this production chain makes more sense when I, Vivian, experienced it, felt it firsthand. It is a very important experience and information to translate to the public that uses MOMA products the origin of the raw materials and everything that is behind each one of them”, adds Vivian.

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