Rafael Pantoja, Municipal Secretary of Tourism and Environment in Borba talks about the Trocano Project – August 2022

The success of a project such as Trocano depends on a network of input from a variety of different backgrounds and sources.  It is essential to bring together expertise from the local area, people who are on-the-ground and who truly understand the benefits and implications of creating and achieving an effective project.

Here is a video from Rafael Pantoja, the Municipal Secretary of Tourism and Environment for Borba. 

Rafael first became aware of the Trocano Araretama project when he was still a student, and now 11 years later is playing an active role in its implementation and accomplishment.

Rafael believes it is very important to bring sustainable opportunities to smallholders and farmers within the project area to both support and enhance their livelihoods as well as protecting and enhancing the forest.

Rafael talks about the Trocano Araretama Project and the benefits it brings to the people of Borba as well as the environment.

Trocano Team visit Rural Farmers – July 2022

Our local project manager, Joaquina Lourenco accompanied by Trocano team member Luana Ferreira recently visited the community of Axinim as part of the team delivering the Stingless Bee Breeding (Meliponiculture) Training Course.  Whilst there, they took the opportunity to get to know the community residents a little better, in particular two of the local rural farmers, to find  out more about their way of life and their views on the importance of bringing such initiatives as Meliponiculture to the project area.

Socorro Soriano is 57 years old, married with 2 children.  She is a former teacher who is now a rural producer with a plantation in the Axinim area.  Socorro grows her crops to guarantee the supply of food for her own family, as well as supporting their livelihood by generating income from selling her crops.

  • Trocano Project

Alfredo da Silva Mariano is 40 years old, married with 3 children and is a rural producer and teacher who has a plantation also in Axinim.  He is the former president of the Axinim Community Farmers Association and was one of the first to sign up for the Bee Breeding course. He plans for his plantation to be large-scale by the end of the year and already sells his products locally as well as in Manaus.

Their plantations crops include Banana, Cassava, Pomegranate, Avocado, Açai, Pineapple, Cupuaçu, Soursop, and Papaya.

The Trocano Team asked “what do you think about the Trocano Project bringing Meliponiculture to your community?”

Socorro:  “I think it’s great because it will help us in every way to increase our production. We plan to plant more this year, and raising the bees is essential for a successful harvest. So the project came at the right time. I thank you, the Project, and God for this support.”

Alfredo:  “For us, this course at Axinim is of paramount importance because we need it. We thank the project for this support. For us who are rural producers, we have to have at least 5 bee breeder boxes in our area. As my plantation will be large-scale, soon planting is essential for a successful harvest.”

Joaquina asked Alfredo the most significant difficulty he faces as a local rural producer.

Alfredo: “The pests of the plantation, because we invested in the plantation and as has happened to me a few times, we prepared everything. Still, the pest came, and we lost everything. Today I have more experience in this situation. At the time, it was very complicated because it compromised almost 100% of our family income.”

Joaquina then asked them both about their relationship with the forest and nature.

Socorro:  “The happiness of planting a seed and watching it grow is inexplicable. The best thing for me is that you harvest and feed yourself and still be able to feed other people. I usually say that every seed they put in my hand goes to the underground.

It’s a kind of healing, a therapy. For example, if I wake up sick if I go to my farm and take care of my plants, I’m so focused on what I’m doing that my energy is renewed when I realize my pains are gone.”

Alfredo:  “For me, nature represents feminine energy because, in addition to taking care of herself alone, she takes care of us, keeping the temperature and the pleasant climate. For example, on my farm, the climate is airier, and the night gets cold. That’s why today, as an educator, I am always passing on the awareness of preservation to my students.”

Socorro went on to tell the team about where her interest in plating began.

Socorro: “My mother always liked to plant, and she taught us from an early age. My mother was a single mother and planted to feed my brothers and me, she planted a little bit of everything, and because of that, we never went hungry.”

The Trocano Project Team were pleased to get to know Socorro and Alfredo and find out how the Trocano Project can provide opportunities for them to maintain and improve their livelihoods, and that of their children and the community as a whole.

Stingless Bee Breeding Training Course held in the Trocano Project – 14th to 15th July 2022

On 14th and 15th July, the Trocano Project together with IDAM, Borba City Hall and the Secretariat for the Environment held a training course in the Axinim community for local residents to learn about stingless bee breeding and care, known as meliponiculture.

35 students attended the course which were taught by Leonardo Silva, a graduate of Meliponiculture and Beekeeping from INPA (National Research Institute in Amazon), and owner of the city melipona apiary. The first part of the course provided the theory of the practice as well as the important role it plays in environmental preservation.

The students were excited about the practical part of the training when they visited the apiary, where more than 70 different species of stingless bees are bred. This gave them the opportunity to become familiar with the bees and understand the management, handling and care techniques as well as how to build bee breeding boxes.

The second day was met with energy and enthusiasm as it involved a hollow tree trunk being opened which encased a swarm of bees which were then introduced to the breeder’s boxes. The students also had the opportunity to extract some honey from the existing hives, and everyone received some honey to take with them afterwards.

After completing the course, the students were presented with certificates and congratulated for completing their training. 

Meliponiculture generates great benefits to the environment through pollination, in a way that contributes to the regeneration of forests and increased biodiversity.  It is also important for local residents as it creates excellent economic opportunities for the breeders to sell the honey, wax and other by-products such as propolis.  This can help support the rural communities and create further opportunities for the future.

Honey from stingless bees has great cultural value and is used for therapeutic purposes to treat a range of health conditions, from respiratory infections to skin conditions as well as it having anti-inflammatory properties for conditions such as arthritis.  

The Trocano Project is pleased to support this program and due to the success of this training course, will help to roll it out to other communities within the project area.  

Baby Manatee rescued in Borba – 4th July 2022

On the 24th June, an injured and confused baby Amazonian Manatee (sometimes known as a sea cow) was rescued after a local resident raised the alarm. 

“The resident was arriving at the city port when he saw some river dolphins playing with something, which he could not identify at the time. As he got nearer, he saw that it was a baby manatee and immediately, contacted the secretariat team, who went to the scene and carried out the rescue”, said the Municipal Secretary of Tourism and Environment, Rafael Pantoja, who also added, saying that the animal was severely injured and with several cuts on its back.

The rescued Manatee (Trichechus Inunguis) was cared for under the care of the Municipal Department of Tourism and Environment and INPA veterinarian, Dr Anselmo, and was baptized with the name “Trocano”.

Baby “Trocano” was placed in a reservoir of 500 litres of water to help it recover in comfort.  A donation from the Trocano Araretama Project supplied the milk it needed until its transfer to Manaus for rehabilitation, and future release back into its natural habitat.

Amazonian Manatees are listed as Vulnerable with a decreasing population on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  The rescued Manatee calf is approximately 2 months old, weighing 13 kilos.

It has now been successfully transported to the National Research Institute of the Amazon (INPA) in Manaus under the responsibility of the environmental inspector of Borba, Jaison de Souza. INPA has been working for many years to capture and recover these animals and release them back into their natural habitat.

A big well done to everyone involved in rescuing this vulnerable animal and for recognising the importance of saving it.

Environment Week in Borba – June 2022

Having missed the last 2 years due to Covid, the San Antonio de Borba Festival was back in style in 2022, thanks to the great efforts of Mayor Simão Peixoto de Lima, First Lady Adeline Mirella de Souza e Freitas and all the municipal team.

One of the highlights of the Festival for Go Balance and the Trocano Araretama Project was Environment Week, which ran from 30th May to 6th June.  Projects such as Trocano Araretama can only be successful with the support of the local communities and the support was huge and impressive.

Environment Week began with lively discussions held in many of the local schools.  These were organised by the Environment & Education Secretaries and their teams, and supported by our own Joaquina Lourenco, and were attended by a total of 1,300 students.  Amongst other activities, quizzes were held and prizes were awarded.  This was all followed by the planting of seedlings by many of the students and this was met with great fun and enthusiasm.

It was a great week, fully embraced by the people of Borba and finished with a march through  Borba  town on the 6th June which had an attendance of around 1,200 people including students and adults of all ages.

Drinking water points and recycling bins were provided at all the major locations in the town. 

Local priest – Father Jânio – together with Joaquina then organised a firework display, with cakes and chickens for the children to enjoy afterwards.  This was a fitting end to Environment Week.

A huge well done to the Borbense people, the Municipal Team and everyone who got involved.

30th June 2022

A New Team Member for the Trocano Project

We are pleased to welcome Luana Gomes Ferreira to the Trocano team.  Luana was born and raised in Borba and remembers the Trocano Project from 11 years ago when she was a student at school.

Luana is a proud Borbense and admires the culture of faith and devotion of the Borbense people.  Her favourite thing about Borba is the view of the Madeira river and the sunset, especially when she is with her family.

Luana was educated at school in Borba and when she finished high school she completed a secretarial course.

Luana will be a great addition to the team as she will play a key role in visiting the communities, communicating with them about the Trocano Project and answering questions they may have. 

She will also gather vital information about the forest and receive suggestions as to the socio-economic benefits that are particularly required and requested by the communities as a result of the implementation of the Project.

“Being part of the Trocano project team is a way to give back a little for what the project has been providing for my municipality since 2011”.

Luana Gomes Ferreira

Together the Municipality of Borba, Go Balance and the Trocano Araretama Project welcome Luana to the project team.

13th May 2022

New, Local Project Manager joins the Trocano Araretama Project

The Trocano Araretama Project has assigned a new Project Manager to the team,  Joaquina Lourenço. 

As an Amazonian, Joaquina has a deep cultural understanding which will bring crucial benefits to the project locally.  Joaquina has achieved Masters Degrees in Production Engineering and Project Management, and has recently completed a third Masters Degree in Neuroscience and Positive Psychology in Human Development.

Joaquina has an extensive professional background in field operations and business support for large international organisations in Manaus, Brazil. She also brings experience in the development and strengthening of relationships with key stakeholders which will bring real value on the ground to the Trocano project.

“As soon as I heard about the Trocano Araretama project, it brought me joy to see that project such as the Araretama project contributing to the development of my region and local communities.

I am pleased to be part of this team and contribute to this project that is the perfect combination of environmental preservation and regional development.”

Joaquina Lourenço

Together the Municipality of Borba, Go Balance and the Trocano Araretama Project welcome Joaquina to the project team.

28th April 2022

Municipal Forest Garden Project update

With the support of the Trocano Araretama Project and funding from Go Balance Ltd, the Municipal Forest Garden Project is able to further the implementation of the Municipal Garden to the next phase, which is of great value for the environment as well as the population of Borba.

The project aims to grow seedlings of native and fruit-bearing species and is of fundamental importance to encourage awareness of reforestation. The operation of the project is through the Municipal Department of Tourism & Environment.  It aims to improve the forestry and environmental composition of the municipality, which vegetation was removed due to the expansion of the urban area of the city, seeking environmental improvement of the municipality, and social welfare.

This again highlights that projects such as this are about much more than the carbon benefits and the wider environmental impacts; it is about the many benefits it can bring to the local community and the specific needs of the local area.

The objectives of the project are:

  1. Inform and raise awareness of the population on the importance of preserving and maintaining urban afforestation.
  2. Afforestation of public spaces and Recovery of Degraded Areas due to urban expansion.
  3. Seedling production: identification of mother trees for seedling and seed production, dissemination of native plant species, production of specific seedlings for urban and native trees to recompose degraded areas, riparian forests and springs.
  4. Planting in public places, including the choice of species & compatibility – with a combination of trees and urban elements, central beds, sidewalks, public lighting, hydraulic and electrical network, etc.
  5. Management and conservation of afforestation: irrigation, pruning (management, maintenance, cleaning, conformation, containment, roots etc), replacement and transplantation.
  6. Inspections, technical inspections, preventive monitoring, training of the workforce – landscape, phytosanitary measures and risk criteria.
  7. Revive squares and parks, urban centres for environmental well-being, social interaction, natural beauty, attendance and education.

17th August 2021

Anniversary of Borba initiating the Municipal Forest Garden Project!

The Municipality of Borba created a reforestation project, in order to repopulate Borba with its native plant and fruit species. On the 17th of August 2020 the construction of the Municipal Forest Garden began, this is the first stage of the project.

The Municipality of Borba joined the MS Amazonas program (Programa Municipios Sustentáveis Amazonas)  in 2017.  MS Amazonas is implemented to reduce deforestation, environmental degradation and fires in the State and runs alongside and in compatibility with the Trocano project.

“The objective of MS Amazonas is to value and integrate environmental, social, economic and industrial characteristics, respecting population, cultural diversity, as well as wealth and entrepreneurship, to combat deforestation in the Amazon”

Borba has also joined the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) program.

There are 17 objectives and 169 global action targets to reach by 2030, mostly encompassing the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development, in an integrated and interrelated way. Guided by global goals, countries are expected to define their national goals, according to their circumstances, and incorporate them into their government policies, programs and plans.

1st July 2021

Dumpsters delivered for Borba!

The Department of Tourism and Environment, together with the Department of Public Cleaning of Borba, is carrying out the distribution of made and customized trash cans in all schools in the state and municipal education network.  According to the Secretary of the Environment, Rafael Pantoja, all this work is the result of a partnership for years which has been working well and that the environment is grateful for.

The trash bins to be distributed to public offices and institutions in Borba. All with the aim of alleviating the proliferation of waste disposal on the city’s public roads.

The departments contemplated were the Psychosocial Service Center – CAPS, Civil Police, Public Cleaning Department, City Airport, Abrigo do Agricultor and Borba Municipal Fair.

The Environment Secretary, Rafael Pantoja, said that this work will be extended to other institutions that have not yet been covered.

8th September 2020

Fire Prevention Committee

On 3rd September the Secretariat of Tourism and the Environment recognised the hard work of the Campaign against Fires committee, during the bushfire season.

The Trocano Projects main objective is to protect the area from destruction,  and the work of committees such as this are integral in the protection of the rainforests.

The committees work was highly successful and discussions were had on how they can learn from this year to make even more improvements next year.

28th April 2020

Food Parcels Distributed to Vulnerable Students

On the 21st April, the Municipal Education Secretariat began delivering School Lunch Kits to students in the municipal school system.

Initially, 1,000 kits were distributed, which comprised of perishable and non-perishable foodstuffs, in addition to family farming items. The distribution process was carried out gradually and served the most socially vulnerable students in the Trocano project area. In addition, to ensuring peace of mind in the delivery process and avoiding crowds on school premises.

According to the Secretary of Education, Valdira Fonseca, in order to carry out this action, the joint work with the Secretariat for Social Assistance and Human Rights was fundamental. “It was through the social programs offered by the secretariat that we were able to select the most socially vulnerable students in the municipality.”

For Mayor Simão Peixoto, this is a way to meet some of the need for vulnerable students in the municipality and explained that at this first moment all schools in the city’s municipal education network will be covered, but that schools in the rural area will also receive the kits.

7th February 2020

Water Purification Systems installed in Riverine Communities

Following the water purifications previously implemented by the Trocano Project, the work continues with the Municipality of Borba installing more alternative Salta Z filters in the countryside

Installing filters in four riverside communities in the municipality of Borba, the Municipality through the Municipal Health Secretariat, Municipal Environment and Tourism Secretariat, Works Department and Borba Saneamento, continued to work and are bringing treated water to dozens of riverside dwellers.

This time, the communities of Arapapa, São Joaquim, Floresta and Anumaã were included in the project that purifies any type of water and makes it potable for consumption, Salta Z.

Each purifier has the capacity to serve up to a thousand people. The project  has already benefited ten rural communities, which today already use treated water for human consumption.

24th July 2019

Earth Rewards Ltd become a Trocano Project Partner

The company Earth Rewards Ltd have become a partner to the Trocano Project.

Earth Rewards Ltd

Earth Rewards is an environmental tech company that is developing a mobile app and e-commerce platform that enables people to simply track, reduce and offset their carbon impacts.

Earth Rewards has chosen the Trocano Araretama Project as the environmental partner for their program.  They are using the Natural Capital Credits that are generated from the Trocano Project to provide the offsets and associated environmental benefits for their program.

13th March 2019

Trocano Araretama Project Public Meeting

A public meeting was held by the Borba City Hall on the 13th March, in the Capinarana Community – Rio Sucunduri. Community leaders representing the communities within the project area were formally invited to take part, with official transportation arranged from Porto do Asfalto, Borba at 8am on 12th March.

The objective of the meeting was for a public consultation for the Trocano Araretama project as part of the ongoing informed consent of the communities participating in the project.  Upon arrival, a register of attendees was signed, which totalled 130 community leaders and representatives of the 10,700 inhabitants of the project area.

The meeting began with the President of Borba City Hall and the Municipal Secretary for the Environment giving an introductory speech, speaking generally about the origin of the project and the benefits to all the communities involved in the project.

The Mayor of Borba, Simão Peixoto, held a question and answer forum, where any person attending the meeting could ask their questions to him and the municipal representatives.  There were a number of questions asked and all were answered satisfactorily.  There was also the chance for questions to be asked from the communities to the municipal representatives, which were all answered fully.

During the meeting a new Monitoring Commission was organised, with 5 people being chosen and appointed to lead it.

A paper questionnaire was circulated by Borba’s First Lady who asked the community leaders in attendance to answer.  Each one was signed by the leader and identified each community they were representing.  A questionnaire was also presented to the First Lady, which was also answered officially and signed by both the Mayor and the First Lady.

The meeting concluded with the Mayor holding a voice poll about the ongoing acceptance of the Trocano Araretama project by the communities, in which the result was unanimous.

30th January 2018

New schools for two Borba communities

On the 20th January Mayor of Borba, Simão Peixoto, inaugurated new schools for the Piraiçu and Floresta Communities of Borba.  Both schools have high standard facilities and offer a good learning environment for students and teachers alike and include ample classrooms, together with kitchens, bathrooms and dispensaries.

The Floresta Community has been without a school building for over 4 years following a storm that took the roof, and the students of the community have been studying in the community church  instead.  The Piraiçu Community have had a huge increase in student numbers over the last year and these new facilities will ensure that all students can study in appropriate facilities.

The President of the Piraiçu Community and the Professor of the Floresta Community school both congratulated and thanked the mayor for these improvements.

The Mayor of Borba was joined by city councillors, the Secretary for Construction and the President of the FUNDEB council for the inauguration events and said that education improvement is a commitment of the Borba Municipality.

24th November 2017

Interview with Iakira, the Borba-based NGO partner of the Trocano Araretama project


29th October 2017

Borba Karate Student in Brazilian Team for WKF World Championships

The Trocano Araretama project partner, Go Balance, sponsored one of the Fenix Karate Club students from Borba to enable him to participate as part of the Brazilian team in the 2017 WKF Junior, Cadet and U21 World Championships held in Spain from October 25-29.

Ryan Christian ( second from right, back row and third from right in the pictures above) was called up to the Brazilian team for the 2017 World Championships in Tenerife and was proud to be able to represent his country, having had success in a previous competition which enabled his place on the team.  He was able to take part in many important training sessions with the Brazilian team, as well as competing in the Cadet Kata Male competition.

Ryan was accompanied to the competition by Rosely Pantoja and Alcileia Costa; two of the leaders of the Fenix Karate club in Borba.


9th October 2017

New Project Office Now Open

On Monday 9th October, the new office combining the Municipality of Borba, Iakira and Go Balance into one shared work space for the Trocano Araretama project was officially opened.

The Mayor of Borba – Simão Peixoto – gave the following interview:

The event was attended by a number of important people shown in the photo below:

L to R:  Yago Moda (Iakira); Edilson Batista (Alderman of Borba); Elizabeth Maciel (Councilwoman of Borba); Toinho Cidade (Vice Mayor of Borba); Jacimar Rabelo (Councilman of Borba); Dânia Gonzaga (Administrative Assistant); Júlio Gonzaga (Department of Rural Production Borba); Rafael Pantoja (Secretary for the Environment Borba)

The combined office will enable the easy and efficient sharing of data and information between all the project partners as well as providing a central office that is accessible to all inhabitants of the project area.

There is great excitement amongst all involved, with the Vice Mayor of Borba – Toinho Cidade – giving an inspiring speech to all that attended.