Helping Empower Amazon Communities and Conserve the Rainforest

Senior Customer Manager Katarzyna Kaczorowska

Through Dow’s Project Ybá , women living in the community of Vila Mamorana, Pará , Brazil, are breeding native stingless bees for honey. The initiative is helping their families find a new route to sustainable earnings while also promoting forest conservation and the ecosystem service of bees

In collaboration with the Peabiru Institute, we’ve expanded the scope of our Project Ybá : Conservation that Transforms to include meliponiculture, or the breeding of stingless bees. Launched in 2021, Project Ybá  has empowered an Amazon community surrounding our operations in Breu Branco, Pará , Brazil, by developing a local association that will sell the renewable bioactive products from Dow’s rainforest conserved area. The goal is to contribute to increasing community and family incomes while conserving the rainforest. Members of Vila Mamorana community, formed mostly by Black and mixed-race women, were selected to carry out the sustainable extraction of seeds from the forest – initially from the andiroba tree.

The meliponiculture initiative will supplement income from the bioactive harvest and was supported through Dow’s ALL IN ERG Fund. For initial production, 50 bee boxes with hives were installed. These have the potential to produce 50 kilos of honey by December 2023. If the community chooses to double the number of beehives, honey production could reach 100 kilos by the end of 2024.

“With this initiative, we want to contribute to the social development of the community through the production of honey, increase the income of these families and promote the conservation of the Amazon rainforest and ecosystem services of the bees,” said Ana Carolina Felix, sustainability director at Dow Consumer Solutions for the Americas. “The intention is to empower the community of Vila Mamorana and enable them to have sustainable alternative earnings in between andiroba crops. Bio-extractivism and now meliponiculture are pillars of Project Ybá .”

The project also promotes the creation of a tree nursery with species that, in addition to increasing food security for these families, are attractive to local bee species. These insects are responsible for the pollination of 70% of the main forest crops, such as açaí berries and cocoa. In addition, the initiative includes training on biology, bee behavior and beekeeping, environmental education, and entrepreneurial skills for the women participating in the project.