Hylea 1884, Bolivia
About Brazil nuts from Bolivia
The foundation stone for the entrepreneurial and socially strongly committed family business “Hylea1884” was laid by Friedrich Hecker in 1884 in the northeast of Bolivia, in Riberalta and Fortaleza: He built up the trade in natural rubber in the late 19th century. The family also pioneered Bolivian Brazil nut production and it is now one of the largest exporters of Brazil nuts in the world. From the beginning, the Hecker family cared about the concerns of the local population. As early as 1932, for example, it founded the first rural schools, set up a health station and is still an important employer for the local rural population.
Almost all Brazil nuts come from wild collections. Scientific attempts to cultivate this plant have so far failed. The Brazil nut tree only thrives in the Amazon rainforest in complex interactions with other organisms. Half of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests are located in the Amazon basin and the rainforest plays a central role in the global ecological balance. This is due to its size and the correspondingly large storage capacities for carbon dioxide or as a reserve of genetic diversity of flora and fauna. For generations, the rainforest has also been home to many indigenous peoples and serves as a natural source of food and income. One traditional, sustainable use of the rainforest’s natural wealth is the collection of wild Brazil nuts.
In an area of about 220,000 hectares, most of which is covered by rainforest, there are 15 indigenous communities with whom Hylea works in partnership: More than 1,000 collectors:inside are busy during harvest time picking up the capsule fruits (containing Brazil nuts) and delivering them to Hylea collection stations. In this way, Hylea provides a solid income for the collectors and their families.