Maria Jose Costa Rodrigues, Farmer, Brazil
In Brazil’s northern and northeastern regions, the country’s poorest, over 300,000 women and their families depend for their livelihoods on one single tree: the babassu palm tree.
Maria Jose Costa Rodrigues is one of the women who supplies babassu.
She has broken babassu nuts since she was nine. For her, increasing the number of women nut harvesters and attracting youth also depends on the income this livelihood offers to those living in rural areas: “The price of the extracted nut shouldn’t be just one real per kilo. A good nut breaker leaves home at six in the morning and gets 10 reals after a whole day of work. Many would rather go to the city and receive 20 reals for cleaning the home of a wealthy person. In the case of the mesocarp, the income is a little better, but it’s still an uphill struggle.”
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