Linking culture and conservation in the Caura River Basin

Wild Palm Fruits Featured on Netflix Show

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Our work was featured in the popular series, Down to Earth, now showing on Netflix. The show, hosted by superfoods hunter Darin Olien, featured actor Zac Efron touring projects that improve energy use and food diversity and sustainability in about a dozen locations around the world. In Iquitos, Peru, part of the show covered Oenocarpus bataua (ungurahui, seje, patauá) and Mauritia flexuosa (aguaje, morete, canagucho), fruit harvests using the Maquisapa. The unrehearsed and enthusiastic reaction of the protagonists to bataua milk - expertly prepared in the Nanay River community of Mishana - helps to illustrate the large market potential for palm fruit pulps. They do not demand an obscure or acquired taste. Palms are among the commonest tree species across forests of the Western slope of the Andes, Amazon Basin and Guiana Shield. Rather than pinning hopes on a value chain tied to yet-undiscovered medicines, Caura Futures' long push to promote sustainable harvests of wild palm fruits and market development immediately reduces forest degradation and brings needed cash income to rain forest communities. The well-known açai palm, extremely common in forests of the eastern Amazon, is the best example of this idea at work. Oenocarpus and Mauritia palms are more widespread and offer additional delicious flavors and nutritional benefits.