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  • Writer's pictureJuan Carlos

Vanilla-based Bioeconomy Development Project

Vanilla is a native species of the Amazon Rainforest, and is present in natural conditions in the Kapawi area. Vanilla is also a plant that has traditional medicinal use by the Achuar, mainly as a perfume and also for treating skin pigmentation (chloasma). There are several species of vanilla present in the region, including some of commercial interest: v.odorata, v.pompona, v.planifolia.

Together with Fundacion Pachamama, Kapawi Ecolodge is part of a wider effort to promote economic alternatives based on the principles of bioeconomy (understood as the sustainable use and management of resources from biodiversity and local culture). Our collaboration involves developing vanilla farming as a community enterprise. This process started in 2021 and includes working with local farmers to integrate vanilla as a new product of the local family farm systems.

An important part of this process includes the construction of a vanilla nursery that will produce seedlings to be transferred to the community families and to be integrated in the local farms. This process includes technical assistance to develop local capacity to manage this plant, produce and process vanilla pods, create a cooperative enterprise of small vanilla producers, and find the right commercial partners.

The purpose of the Vanilla-based Bioeconomy Development Project is to develop additional sources of income for the local communities, by harvesting, managing and using native vanilla plants from the forest. Vanilla farming is also expected to create women-led enterprises, an essential objective in supporting equal participation and leadership.

Kapawi Ecolodge is working closely with Fundacion Pachamama to promote the development of local community vanilla production, integrating vanilla in the local chacras, or farms. Several families have started with this, but additional funds are needed to provide technical assistance in the farming process. Also, assistance and community outreach is needed to train local producers, standardize farming methods and thus guarantee adequate vanilla pod yield.

As part of our commitment to regenerative tourism, a community-centered tourism model that goes beyond ecotourism to reinvest in the destination’s needs, Kapawi dedicates roughly 10% of our profit towards sustainability and community projects like our vanilla project in the region. This model allows us to have a small fund to pilot these projects, however, we need to raise additional funds to continue to operate these community projects.

Kapawi invites you to contribute to the Vanilla-based Bioeconomy Development Project with a donation. Your support will allow us to:

  • Provide the participating families with technical assistance during all stages of vanilla farming.

  • Train local community-members to become technical vanilla managers.

  • Increase the number of community field visits to communicate and train about the project

You can donate directly by reaching out to us at Your contributions are restoring one of our planet's most critical ecosystems and building a brighter future: for everyone! Thank you!


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