Brazil Nuts – Forest Whole Foods Market Update
If you are a big fan of Brazil Nuts you must have had a nasty surprise last year when the prices went through the roof (60% increase). The sad news is this affected the foragers lives and the local Amazonion community.
The Brazil nut harvest that spiked prices marked a complicated year for the Brazil nut industry and anyone who supplies or sells these delicious tree nuts.
What happened to the crop?
The weather conditions of 2016 affected the production of the crop dramatically, which resulted in the sudden spike. The massive drought which hit the Amazonian forests is a sign of climatic changes – the worst harvest that any of the workers could remember (a third of the usual supply). The lack of rain meant the pods which contain the nuts were released too early, resulting in smaller kernals and less fruit.
“Historically people have never seen such a situation,” says Ailsa Pérez-Ulecia, a nut trader at Freeworld Trading in Edinburgh.
The coveted Brazil nut is foraged by hand in remote areas of the Amazon fain forest. The foragers have to travel to collect the nuts by boat. This harvest has obviously affected the foragers lives and the surrounding community is heavily affected.
So what can we expect in 2018?
The good news is that the past few months market prices have started to come down again. The estimated volume of the 2018 crop is around 80% of a normal yield, so things should start to improve.
The harvest started mid November at a good level but heavy rains have caused some problems in the past few weeks, causing blockages on forest roads. This rain may increase the risk of rotten nuts and aflatoxin.
Exporters have started production and will soon be shipping the first containers. Because of this high demand collectors are not yet willing to drop prices so it may take a while before we see our favourite nut coming down in price.
One way to enjoy this precious nut if you are on a budget is to try Organic Mixed Nuts to get your Brazil nut fix while you wait for the prices to come down.