Interview with: Mg.Sc. Rossemary Carpio
Coordinator of Food Transformation and Value-Added Products of PERU-hub
San Martin is one of the regions that processes and produces different crops such as cocoa, vanilla, among others. At the same time, there is also another crop that is not yet well known in the international market, such as Macambo, a tropical fruit native to the Peruvian Amazon.
This crop is not exploited in the market, because farmers do not have the conditions to improve the quality and packaging processes.
Rossemary Carpio, coordinator of the Food Transformation Component of PERU-Hub, tells us in this interview about the strategies she and her team have been applying to improve the value chain of food entrepreneurs in the Huallaga Valley.
What does the work of the Food Transformation Component at PERU-Hub consist of?
We seek to add value to local raw materials by increasing the sustainability of food entrepreneurs, considering market demand and biodiversity, where the use of technology, research and innovation is involved.
Why do you consider Macambo a good export alternative in the San Martin region?
Macambo is a tropical fruit known for its nutritional and sensorial characteristics as well as its high pectin content, a natural product present in the cell wall of this crop that is used by the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries because it works as a natural thickener, adding consistency to products such as jellies.
One of the weaknesses detected in San Martin was that the crop is not well exploited in the market. How will the Food Transformation Component address this situation?
We have been able to identify that the beneficiaries need support with the peeling technique for this crop. Therefore, PERU-Hub, through the Food Transformation Component, has been developing training and technical assistance workshops where we will continue doing different tests, with different techniques and learning about the types of peeling that exist.
During the last few months we have seen the participation of Purdue University with PERU-Hub in a series of trainings, what role does this institution play with the project?
As part of one of our allied institutions to PERU-Hub, Purdue University joins efforts to provide technologies that are sustainable, replicable and easy to use with the equipment that our beneficiaries already have and see how we can increase the value added to this tropical grain.
Are there other ways to use macambo?
Currently, Macambo is used in roasted form, it is used to make chocolates and bonbons, as in the case of one of our beneficiary associations, the Mishki Cacao Agricultural Producers located in the district of Chazuta in San Martin. However, it is also likely that we will use it for jellies or propose new products based on the mucilage present in the macambo, so that it can be commercialized.
Do you have a developed macambo model at Fundo Pucayacu?
For now we do not have a macambo production process, but at Fundo Pucayacu we will implement the Food Transformation Center, where we will develop different food transformations since we will have a line of fruit and dairy products. Likewise, we will develop different products based on macambo, vanilla and also with non-native crops such as passion fruit, soursop, cinnamon, among others, at a prototyping level.