Brazil nut supplies have plummeted by more than two-thirds after a “catastrophic harvest in the Amazon rainforest”. 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. 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. News from Bolivia's rainforests: Brazil's walnut harvest this year has decreased by 60-70%, mainly due to El Niño. Bolivia produces approximately half of the world's supply and reports that the capsules are empty.
Trees aren't producing this year, which also means that communities that make a living harvesting this nutritious nut are likely to suffer. Bolivian authorities are planning new strategies to counter shortages due to this overwhelming drought, such as cutting vines around Brazil chestnut trees in the native rainforest, which could triple the yield of individual trees. Chestnut growers have to time things right. If they arrive too soon, they waste valuable time waiting for the pods to fall.
Too late and they will lose the harvest at the hands of agoutis, brown cat-sized rodents that pick up all the Brazil nut pods they can find and then bury the nuts individually, just as squirrels bury acorns for future food. It was they who named the Brazilian walnut tree Bertholletia excelsa, in honor of Humboldt's friend, chemist and salon presenter Claude Louis Berthollet. Edivaldo resells his production to Rosenilson Ferreira, known as Louro, who, during the walnut harvest, often goes to the territory to load his truck. Keeping chestnut harvesting is one way to preserve the culture of traditional peoples and reduce pressure on tropical forests, although few consumers know it.
Trained eyes are required to find the hidden shells among other species, skill with the machete to open the shell of the shell, endurance for the long day of harvesting and the strength to carry the sacks full of nuts on your back. Brazil nuts have a soft buttery texture and a delicious nutty flavor, making them an appetizing food in and of itself. Victoria Mutran, the exporter from Belém, said that there is “a great interest in walnuts in shells for the Chinese market and that it has already been addressed by Chinese businessmen. From December to April, chestnut pickers can find the husks on the forest floor, near the mother tree.
Today, walnuts are dried and sorted, and some will be shelled before being packed in vacuum-sealed bags for shipping. The Chinese have increased their consumption of nuts in the last decade, but Brazil nuts still have a comparatively small share in this market. One stands at the NMNH exhibition, just a few meters from Brazil nuts, waiting forever for their refreshment. The Brazil chestnut is an imposing plant, with a wide and rough trunk that easily reaches 30 meters in height and 100 years of age.
But instead of removing Brazil nuts from the import list, the British government recently announced investments in capacity building for communities to boost their exports at scale. 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%. .