GNF - Sustainable cultivation of mate tea in Paraguay

A GNF project for sustainable cultivation methods of tea in the biosphere reserve of Mbaracayu in Paraguay


The three year project is jointly carried out by GNF and Moises Bertoni in Paraguay and has a volume of 386,000 €. GNF and its project partner have to contribute at least 25 % to the project (financed by donations). Only if we will succeed in doing so, the remaining 75 % will be provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Here are some examples of how you can help:

With 25 €, we can plant a mate tree 

With 50 €, you help us bring in the harvest 

With 150 €, you help finance a mate tea dryer equipment

Destruction of primeval forests

Paraguay is one of the largest soybean and beef exporters in the world. Large areas of forest are converted to farmland. Even the recently established Mbaracayu Biosphere Reserve is severely threatened by illegal clearing, poaching and drug cultivation.

Endangered Biodiversity

This habitat is home to the critically endangered animal species such as jaguar, tapir and the rare white-winged nightjar (Eleothreptus candicans). Huge fires and habitat destruction threaten the species diversity dramatically.

Mate cultivation helps the forest

The local Aché people are subsistence farmers and hardly able to feed themselves.  The organic cultivation of traditional mate tea and medicinal herbs creates alternative income sources for the locals. Mate tea is cultivated under native trees in forest areas. This shade grown mate plants require no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Wild animals can find new habitats there, soils can recover, forests remain untouched.

Sustainable Cultivation

The creation of sustainable structures for cultivation, processing, and marketing of mate contributes to protect the area and provides long-term revenue for the local population as well.

Yerba Mate

Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a member of the holly family, and is an evergreen tree. It is a robust plant, easy to grow. Mate tea is produced from leaves and is said to be stimulating. It can suppress the feeling of tiredness and hunger. Mate tea is drunk warm (cocido) or cold (tereré). In South America, Mate is consumed by all social classes and professions.

Global Nature Fund (GNF)

Contact person: Manuela Uhde

Fritz-Reichle-Ring 4

78315 Radolfzell, Germany

Phone: +49 - (0) 77 32 - 99 95 - 85

Fax: +49 - (0) 77 32 - 99 95 - 88



 Cascade Salto Karapa
 Young mate plants are grown in own tree nurseries by the locals.
Photo: Ranveig Eckhoff
 Inhabitants of a village
 The primitive tea dryers should be replaced by solid buildings.
 Mate plant in a forest
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