TReeS has agreed to co-fund a new project to grow camu camu (Myrciaria dubia HBK Mc Vaugh), the so called ‘wonderberry of the rainforest’. The concentration level of Vitamin C is fifty times that of oranges or about 2gr. of vitamin C per 100gr. of fruit. It is also very high in potassium. Camu camu is recognised as having good anti-viral properties that can help with cold sores, herpes, shingles, and the common cold. The demand for camu camu from juice bars and ice-cream parlours in Puerto Maldonado exceeds the supply in the area.
The project will be based at the beautiful Estancia Bello Horizonte lodge, 25kms north of Puerto Maldonado. The small lodge overlooks a superb ‘aguajal’ full of macaws, in an ancient isolated bend of the Madre de Dios river.
The Lodge is cheaper than many lodges in the area because it isn’t accessed by river. Consequently, it receives more local tourism than most other lodges but also plenty of independent travellers rather than large tour groups. It is run on a sustainable basis with solar panels and a micro-hydro plant for power. Lodge facilities include a spring fed swimming pool and a butterfly breeding centre.
The project will reforest land adjoining the aguajal that floods seasonally – ideal conditions for camu camu – and overlaps with an old cattle ranch that the lodge has recently purchased. Seedlings will be grown in a nursery adjoining the lodge before up to 10 hectares are planted with just over 1,000 seedlings per hectare. The funds raised will go to construct a processing and storage building for the harvested fruit. The project aims to produce 15 tonnes of Camu-camu per year in 5 years.
The project is co-managed with APRONIA (Asociación para la protección del niño y del adolescente), a charity which runs three ‘homes’ in Puerto Maldonado for abandoned/street children. It also owns the Estancia lodge and the popular ice-cream parlour ‘Los Gustitos de la cura’ in the main plaza, in Puerto Maldonado. Once the children become young adults they are trained to work in the APRONIA projects. This project will be undertaken by members of APRONIA with support from students at UNAMAD (Agrarian University of Madre de Dios).
This project will be supervised by a qualified forestry engineer from UNAMAD (Agrarian University of Madre de Dios).