Over 50 varieties of manioc (Manihot suculenta) grow In the Bragança municipality in the northern Brazilian state of Pará. The local producers have various names for them: aipim, jabuti, mirim, branco ouro, creme, areia, tomazia, gordura, branca, picuí.
Bragança’s manioc flour is produced following a unique, artisanal method: The manioc root is soaked for four or five days, then peeled before soaking in clean water for another 24 hours. The tuber is then ground and placed in a tipiti (an indigenous straw utensil used as a press to extract tucupi, the manioc juice). Once the juice has been extracted, the manioc paste is sieved and toasted in the oven. Bragança flour was traditionally packaged in a paneiro, a basket made from leaves of plants typical to the area like guarimã or arumã. These days, however, this natural and recyclable container, produced using ancient techniques handed down for generations, has all too often been replaced by plastic packaging. In Pará, Bragança flour is consumed at every meal: with fruit or coffee in the morning, or served alongside fish dishes at lunch or dinner. It is also popular in the traditional tacacá soup or in the famous Açaí do Pará, recognized as the Amazon’s best açaí.
With his Dona Maria company, Seu Bené has decided to revive the traditional production of high-quality flour, involving 20 communities in the region. He first got in touch with Slow Food Belém, in the capital of Pará, in 2006, and took part in Terra Madre the same year. In 2018, a Presidium was started, focusing on the transmission of knowledge about the technique to as many farmers as possible, particularly the younger ones. The Presidium’s other objective is to promote the quality flour that is produced and packaged artisanally and traditionally, differentiating it from industrial flours and ensuring that producers obtain a fair price for their work.
13 municipalities inside the Marinha de Tracuateua Reserva Extrativista (RESEX), Bragantina region, Pará state, North region
Slow Food Brasil - Facilitadora Norte
Tel. +55 91 98254-0882
Slow Food Brasil - Facilitador Norte
Tel. +55 92 99492-3900
Presidium producers’ coordinator
Benedito da Silva (Bené)
Tel. +55 91 99943-3745