Babassu oil is extracted from the nuts of the wild babassu palm tree, found on the fringes of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.
Our supplier, The Cooperative of Agricultural Producers of Lago de Junco (COPPALJ) is based in the north-eastern state of Maranhão in Brazil. It comprises over 150 members from 12 communities.
The babassu tree has become an important subsistence resource in Maranhão, where a minimum of 300,000 families harvest babassu and are often dependent upon this activity for their economic survival.
Orisa is one of the female babassu workers who are able to provide a brighter future for their children thanks to the income from this trade.
"Before, no kids went beyond primary school," she says. "Now there are kids at University even. This is all down to babassu."
EQUIPPED FOR THE FUTURE
The trade in babassu oil has enabled COPPALJ to buy a second press, open a community centre and buy a truck to collect kernels from remote communities.
COPPALJ workers are supported by ASSEMA, a Non-Governmental Organisation which aims to improve women's rights and has created a rural credit programme to enable women to achieve financial independence and control.