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Brazilian açaí berry and non-timber forest product value chains as determinants of development from a global perspective

Vanni, Monique Barenboim Salles (2018) Brazilian açaí berry and non-timber forest product value chains as determinants of development from a global perspective. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.hit5221qjtiz


The present research concerns the global ‘value chain’ of the açaí berry, a NonTimber Forest Product (NTFP) derived mainly from the Tocantins Estuary region in the State of Pará, Brazil, and which sustains its mostly riverine population. Through the adoption of methodologies employed in studies of Global Production Networks (GPNs), the study aims to identify how contextual factors have, over time, influenced the formation of the chain by actors across geographical scales, how they sustain the chain in its current configuration, how they enable or preclude the capture of value regionally, and influence development outcomes. Existing research and interventions continue to be predicated on locally-based approaches that aim to cut out middlemen or otherwise reshape local extraction and processing arrangements, without taking into full consideration the ways in which the chain is embedded into different social, economic, and cultural contexts across geographic scale, conditioning chain formation, value distribution and actor behavior. The empirical work was carried out in the form of semi-structured interviews, supported by secondary data and field observations. Field research sites included several locations in the interior of State of Pará, its capital Belem, the States of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Southeast Brazil, as well as coastal towns in California, USA. From these findings, key policy recommendations are made, which are applicable to this specific NTFP chain, but which can be extrapolated to other NTFP chains. The research also employs knowledge about consumer cultures, and the subjectivities concerning value determination, to investigate the role of consumer myths about a product in contributing to its value chain. The conclusion indicates that a whole-chain approach, which appreciates in a reflexive fashion the ways in which actors negotiate territorial specificities to configure chains, is instrumental in the development of efficient, strategic policy programs that aim to improve the income of forest communities that exploit NTFPs. In order to understand, and build trade-based development interventions, researchers and practitioners must engage with the structures, material and cultural, that encase chain relations across geographical scales.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Monique Barenboim Salles Vanni
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Hall, Anthony and Forsyth, Timothy

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