Image courtesy of Castanhal
Castanhal is the largest jute manufacturer in Brazil, and the first jute bag manufacturer in the world to be certified by the Fairtrade Sustainability Alliance – FairTSA.
Jute sacks are made of fibre which is cultivated in the Amazon, and then converted into a sack for products including coffee, potatoes, peanuts, nuts and cocoa.
When Castanhal process the fibres, only inputs that are suitable for contact with food are used. This, coupled with the natural characteristics of the plant, makes jute products totally biodegradable. This means that when they are discarded, they disintegrate completely without leaving any residue or environmental damage.
Castanhal supports the Institute of Fibers of the Amazon (IFIBRAM), which is responsible for research and promotion of jute cultivation, and ran a program of genetic improvement and seed production of jute distributed to small farmers. A pilot project was also run in Pará, to help 50 small producers to evolve from extractive production to a professionalized culture.
In 2016, Castanhal also paid 60% more for jute than the price established in the minimum price guarantee policy of Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento (Conab).
This allowed jute to become an important source of income for more than 10,000 families of riverside inhabitants in the Amazon, helping local communities, reducing migration away from rural areas and promoting sustainable production practices.