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Project in progress | Community development

Frutos do Cerrado


The project will take place across 32 cities in the northern region of Minas Gerais, an area abundant in biodiversity and potential for various standout products and services known for their quality, both regionally and nationally. 

However, it's evident that certain conservation practices in the Cerrado biome are not being adopted in this region due to a lack of encouragement and awareness among rural community families. Additionally, there's a lack of commercial appreciation for products derived from agroextractivism. 

Species: Pequi (Caryocar brasiliense) and Coquinho azedo (butia capitata) 

Pequi is a typical fruit of the Cerrado, deriving its name from Tupi meaning “prickly skin.” This is because beneath the pulp lies a layer of very fine thorns.


It stands as the most consumed and commercially traded fruit from the Cerrado, boasting extensive studies regarding its nutritional, ecological and economic aspects. For instance, its pulp is known to contain twice as much vitamin C as an orange.


Incredibly significant for the agroextractivist communities in the region, some extractivists rely on the fruit production chain for up to 80% of their income.


The coquinho-azedo, also known as Butiá, is a palm tree found in both the Cerrado and the Atlantic Forest. Its fruits offer a pulp with a sour yet sweet flavor, abundant in fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium.


Due to its high nutritional value, it has been considered as an option for school menus in some states. 

Community history

Currently, many agroextractivist families in the north of Minas Gerais reside in regions with a low HDI, situated in peripheral areas distant from major urban centers and lacking optimal opportunities for training and commercialization. Most of these families, predominantly led by women, manage small plots of land and rely on sustainable extractivism to supplement their modest incomes.


Nevertheless, the northern region of Minas Gerais holds significant potential for socio-biodiversity development, offering conditions conducive to progress and ensuring better quality of life for these families. These communities already incorporate native fruits into their diets and income sources, so incentivizing and formalizing this work will enhance family food security and stimulate the local economy. 

The mission of Cooperativa Grande Sertão is to unite these farmers and extractivists, enabling them to market their products, ultimately aiming to enhance their quality of life while safeguarding the environment. Through the exploration of innovative concepts, the cooperative presents solutions and strategies for collaborative activities, striving to empower these communities. This includes a continuous exchange and construction of knowledge, involving training in associations and cooperativism, best production practices, as well as management and conservation of rural territories where sustainable agroextractivism is practiced. 

Historical impacts:

1996 – In partnership with CCA/NM, a small experimental factory is built to process Cerrado fruits 

1998 – Four family farmers found the social enterprise “Grande Sertão Produtos Alimentícios” 

2003 – Cooperativa Grande Sertão is established 

2022 – Formalization of support for the project by Haskell Cosméticos 

2023 – Start of operation of the “Frutos do Cerrado” project 


Full name:

Frutos do Cerrado: Fortalecimento da cadeia produtiva do Pequi (Caryocar brasiliense) e Coquinho Azedo (Butia capitata) no norte do Estado de Minas Gerais.


12 months.



Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

The project

Strengthening the value chains of pequi and "coquinho azedo" (sour coconut) within the extractive communities of northern Minas Gerais by enhancing product value through technical assistance, improving processing methods and expanding product storage infrastructure for commercialization.


With this, it will be possible to promote inclusive economic growth and reduce inequality in the northern region of the state of Minas Gerais, by encouraging the development of quality products with greater added value available on the market, connecting production and agri-food initiatives and construction of new marketing channels. Another crucial aspect involves disseminating knowledge about conserving plant species and sustainably managing fruits from the Cerrado biome. Additionally, this project aims to promote development of a region inhabited by approximately two million people. 


families of extractive farmers directly benefited.


extractivists trained in sustainable management, good hygiene and processing practices.


hectares of area mapped to verify conservation processes and the need to build new sustainable management strategies for pequi and coquinho azedo.


manual for sustainable extraction of pequi and coquinho azedo.


m² of renovated agro-industrial infrastructure.


increase in the volume of raw materials from the Cerrado delivered to the Cooperative and sold to the market.

Impacts of project

Project activities

Specific objective 1: Establish a protocol of good management practices for Pequi and Coquinho-azedo 

The project team will conduct technical meetings and visit producing communities to document and oversee activities conducted by extractive families. This includes mapping areas of species occurrence to ensure product traceability and providing training on sustainable extractivism's best management practices.

Specific objective 2: Add value to products through investment in processing infrastructure and equipment

Efforts will focus on adapting a 40m² agro-industrial facility to meet sanitary requirements set by VISA – Municipal Health Surveillance. Additionally, the project will involve acquiring equipment and utensils such as crates, refrigerators and freezers to expand production and storage capacities. Moreover, training sessions will facilitate knowledge exchange between extractivists and the technical team, emphasizing good manufacturing, hygiene, and product handling practices.


Haskell Cosméticos

Haskell Cosméticos is a company in the cosmetics sector, which develops cosmetics with natural active ingredients, with more plant-based and high-performance formulas. Its focus is on natural ingredients from Brazilian biodiversity, such as murumuru, cupuaçu, Brazil nuts, jaborandi, among others. Its purpose is to promote a present of beauty, self-esteem and well-being, moving towards a future of sustainability and shared values.

Cooperativa Grande Sertão

The Cooperative of Family Farmers and Agroextractivists Grande Sertão (Cooperativa Grande Sertão), was established in 2003, with the mission of bringing together family farmers and extractivists from the North of Minas. It seeks to benefit and commercialize different semi-arid products, developed in accordance with agroecological principles. Headquartered in Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, its activities involve more than 2 thousand families.

Bioeconomy platform that enables projects to value Brazilian biodiversity. It has a multidisciplinary team with more than 12 years of experience in project management and corporate communication. Its work has already enabled the operation of 23 projects to enhance biodiversity, and created a network of more than 500 organizations and companies active in the socio-environmental cause. 

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