Caesalpinia spinosa is a tree that is indigenous to the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes, where it bears fruit from April until December. This plant tolerates dry climates and nutrient-poor soils. Its mature pods are usually harvested by hand once a year by local farmers, sold in the collection centers within the community neighborhoods and then transported to the Silvateam factory. 80% of Tara trees are wild and come from spontaneous growth, while the remaining part is grown on two proprietary farms established and owned by Silvateam.
After leaving them to dry under the sun, the pods are ground on site to obtain Tara tannin. The seeds removed from the pods are used to produce Tara gum. This co-product is widely used in the food industry as a thickening agent, to make ice creams, meat-based products and baked goods.
Silvateam tara farms:
Huánuco and Ica
The two farms are situated in the mountainous region of Huánuco and desert area of Ica, providing employment for over 170 local workers. They have been planted in two areas with scarce vegetation, helping to reduce carbon emissions and produce oxygen instead.
The Huánuco farm is located in a 2,500 m high region, the Andean cordillera, covered by 170,000 trees. Certified organic farming practices are adopted here.
The Ica farm is located in an arid area, 40 km away from the Pacific Ocean with 115,000 trees. No pesticides or other synthetic chemicals are used. Conventional agricultural fertilizsers are minimized in favor of sustainable and organic solutions. A micro-irrigation system ensure an efficient use of water.
Growing the local economy
The communities of farmers who live in the rural areas of Peru, where the Caesalpinia spinosa tree grows wild, normally exist on a subsistence economy. By making significant investments in the country, such as a new factory in the district of Chilca and two plantations, Silvateam has committed itself to creating an important source of supplementary and stable income for many local communities. Nearly 50% of Tara tannin sales are transferred as human resources payments to more than 50,000 local families who live off the land.
Silvateam contributes to the well-being of Peruvian farmers in other ways as well. It participates in specific community support programs, involving initiatives such as an annual medical check-up to prevent common diseases, services that assist in dealing with administrative practices, subsidized loans, and providing sports facilities near the manufacturing plant. Specialist training courses, which are organized in collaboration with the Peruvian National Institute of Natural Resources, are aimed at teaching farmers the best harvesting practices in order to increase their productivity and the value of their work.