© Incofin


In the rainforest of Bolivia, Eximcruz is improving the livelihoods of over 1,000 Brazil nut harvesters while protecting one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems. Also grown in Peru and its namesake Brazil, more than half of the global supply of Brazil nuts comes from Bolivia. Most of these nuts are wild-harvested by indigenous communities who live in the Amazon and ward off loggers and miners to protect the forest where they have lived for generations. Since Brazil nut trees rely on shade cover, consistent rainfall, and natural pollinators, the economic well-being of harvesters is intertwined with the health of the surrounding ecosystem. Brazil nut collectors on the frontlines of the climate crisis are so impactful in the fight that the World Wildlife Foundation has described this crop as “the nut that could help save the Amazon.” CSAF members Incofin (since 2016) and Alterfin (since 2017) have provided working capital loans to Eximcruz, a Brazil nut processor and exporter, so it can make timely payments to harvesters. Over this time, Eximcruz has increased its sales by 161% and its members are reaping the benefits. According to a recent survey of Eximcruz’s suppliers, 92% reported that working with the business has boosted their incomes. Higher incomes allow harvesters to pay for their children’s education, address emergency health needs, and invest in new business activities to diversify their income. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it led to shortages of inputs like tools and processing materials and Eximcruz struggled with liquidity as other sources of financing dried up. “Amid this uncertainty, Alterfin renewed its loan at the same amount of the prior year, which greatly helped Brazil nut pickers and staff in our processing unit,” explains Ximena Carlos, head of quality control for the processor. This timely financing meant that Eximcruz could continue operating and withstand the short-term shock without long-lasting impacts on the health of the business, the local community, or the ecosystem that they protect.

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