From extractors to entrepreneurs: the Indigenous Community of Puerto Esperanza says farewell to the middleman
• 90 thousand Shihuahuaco and 180 thousand Huayruro board feet, with all their certifying documents
Pucallpa April 20, 2013. The Ashéninka Indigenous Community of Puerto Esperanza, located in Atalaya (Ucayali), visited Pucallpa city on a groundbreaking business trip for their town and the entire country.
During two days, Fermín Vásquez, Carlos Vásquez and Tony Fuel met different timber entrepreneurs in order to find new buyers for their certified timber. A total of 90 thousand Shihuahuaco (Dipteryx odorata) and 180 thousand Huayruro (Ormosia shunkey) board feet will be placed in Ucayali’s riverbank.
It´s not all about finding new buyers. With this trip, the Indigenous Community of Puerto Esperanza hopes to set an example for other communities in its region and throughout the entire country.
“In the past, there were 4 to 5 middlemen between the timber entrepreneur and the community; now, we are personally dealing with buyers. This is a major change in our people’s vision; it is not only about acting as an extractor, but also as an entrepreneur” stated Carlos Vásquez, Leader of the Ashéninka Communities Federation of Atalaya – FECONAPA.
Potential buyers were identified as a result of this business trip. Furthermore, the offer submitted by the certified company Green Gold Forestry stood out among the others; the company was profoundly interested in working alongside indigenous people. A meeting will be held with the community in order to choose a winner based on financial offers, market development possibilities, risk mitigation, etc.
Certified timber VS Illegal timber
What are the benefits of certified timber for Pucallpa’s entrepreneurs? Security that the certifying documents are 100% in order and that the timber comes from soundly managed forests, among others. This is a major advancement, especially in times when forest activities have high illegal rates.
Rodrigo Vera, member of the SNV technical team for the Living Amazon Project, says that it is increasingly common to see timber entrepreneurs willing to pay more money for certified timber, since they will not have problems at the time of selling or transporting the commodity.
Undoubtedly, times are changing, and thanks to the certified timber trade not only are the forest and itssettlers benefited, but legality is being fostered in an activity that has been outside the law for many decades.
The Indigenous Community of Puerto Esperanza´s experience is supported by the Living Amazon Project, and financed by the European Union and WWF Germany.