Candela: Brazil Nuts Producer based in Peru

For almost 20 years, Candela Peru has used Shared Interest finance to sustain a precious relationship in the Peruvian Amazon. 

Founded in 1989, Candela’s vision is to strengthen the value chains of Amazonian and Andean production by empowering rural producers to make sustainable use of their native ecosystems.

Castañeros are brazil nut gatherers, who live along the Madre de Dios River in the Peruvian rainforest. This area is known for having the greatest diversity of plant and animal species on earth. 

In 2003, the government granted a 40-year concession to the Castañeros, allowing them to farm the brazil nut trees in clearly defined locations; securing not only livelihoods but the vested interest of the farmers in managing and protecting the rainforest. 

Image: Esmiker de la Peña Huanuire gathers Brazil nuts from the rainforest in Peru.

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President, Gaston Vizcarra, said:

“The rainforest is under attack every day and we believe that the only way to save it is to make everyone aware of its importance and of the many raw materials that are available and can be sourced sustainably.

Sustainability in a nutshell

Gaston continued: “Of course, I want the business to do well but Candela exists to help communities, and this is our mission. We want everyone to know about the importance of sustainable use and the conservation of ecosystems.” 

Since 2001 Shared Interest has provided Candela with various types of loans to enable them to grow and sustain their business. All of these facilities have contributed to the growth and sustainability of the organisation and impacted positively on the livelihood of brazil nut producers and harvesters, their families and communities. 

Founder Guadalupe Lanao (Lupe) said: “Shared Interest has played a fundamental role in the growth and expansion of the organisation and this cannot be overlooked if one is to draw a realistic picture of the growth history of Candela.” 

Since then they have gone from strength to strength. During 2018, Candela finished the implementation of their new processing plant in Madre de Dios, which has allowed them to process a major volume of brazil nuts and, thus, increase their export sales, as well as the efficiency of their production processes. They have also continued to strengthen their range of other native Amazon products such as aguaje, ungurahui, goldenberries and copoazu - all types of fruit (read more about these products on our website) in order to ensure their sustainability. 

Candela has ambitious plans for the future. Founder, Lupe said: “Living income is particularly important to Candela and we are starting a project that will investigate the "murumuru" value chain, which is a brand new raw material for us but very promising in the sustainable projects in the Peruvian rainforest.” 

“I recently visited the Huicungo district in the province of Mariscal Cáceres in Peru. I met a native community who have no source of income. The women came out to meet me. I was deeply moved. It is our aim to find sources of income generation for communities like this. In this area there are many Huicungo trees growing in the rainforest. These trees grow up to 15 metres and their fruits are edible. The tree has sharp spines on its trunk to protect it. We are looking to make a very nutritious butter from the seeds and sell this in Europe.”  Gaston Vizcarra, Candela President

You can read more about Candela in QR 118 here

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