News from Bolivia's rainforests: Brazil's walnut harvest this year has declined by 60-70%, mainly due to El Niño. Bolivia produces approximately half of the world's supply and reports that the capsules are empty. There are several reasons why Brazil nuts have become more difficult to find on the market than they were a few years ago. After the “catastrophic harvest” in the Amazon rainforest, there has been a drastic reduction in Brazil's nut supply.
The lack of rain in South America due to El Niño also caused Brazil nut pods to fall ahead of time, causing fewer seeds to germinate and turn into trees. In addition, due to the drop in Brazil nut production in recent years, cutting down a Brazil nut tree has been banned in Brazil. Brazil nuts are in short supply this winter and warnings have been issued that the crop faces long-term problems due to intensive agriculture. Supermarkets and importers are also concerned about the effects of European Commission legislation to control levels of aflatoxins in nuts, which is linked to liver cancer.
According to the INC, a decline of almost 19% is expected in Bolivia, the largest producer country, and in Brazil the volume of production of Brazil nuts in shell will decrease by up to 40%. Research initiated by Dr. Carlos Pérez of the University of East Anglia believes that to avoid an eventual collapse of the Brazil nut industry, there must be careful monitoring and careful management to encourage the growth of younger trees. Legislation introduced in July means that all imported Brazil nuts must be tested in their country of origin and certified to say that they contain less than four milligrams of toxin per kilogram of nuts.
The lack of rain in South America last year due to El Niño caused the pods containing the nuts to fall early, meaning fewer seeds had a chance to develop. Due to product shortages, traders are now sourcing raw materials as a precautionary measure so that collectors can be satisfied with the prices achieved. Brazil nuts are an excellent gluten-free source of dietary fiber, several vitamins, such as thiamine and vitamin E, and minerals, such as selenium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc. Brazil nuts are native to areas around the Amazon in the regions of Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela.
In this case, the pandemic has wreaked havoc due to the scarcity of markets and, as it is a product that is in great demand, the price will be the protagonist in the coming weeks. There is speculation that the shortage of Brazil nuts may cause the prices of these nutritious nuts to increase considerably in the coming years. Supermarkets and nut importers say the tests are difficult to overcome and have diminished their supply. Eating a healthy breakfast is about to be much more expensive due to the great shortage of one of the key ingredients in muesli.
Brazil nut supplies have plummeted by more than two-thirds after a “catastrophic harvest in the Amazon rainforest”.