GNF - Conservation of biodiversity and traditional cultures Paraguay

Sustainable Cultivation of Mate Tea in Paraguay



The project area is located at the edge of the Mbaracayu Forest Biosphere Reserve (MFBR). In 2000, it was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve, the first of the country.


The core area is the most important nature reserve of Paraguay, encompassing approximately 64,000 hectares of the endangered Atlantic primary forest. It is managed by the local partner organisation Fundación Moisés Bertoni (FMB).  


The region is part of the Atlantic forest – a unique biome, extremely rich in biodiversity, which stretches also along the coasts of Argentina and Brazil.


Over the past 60 years, Paraguay has lost more than 8 million hectares of forest area within this ecosystem – around 93 % of the original area.  Road building and expansion of crop and stockbreeding are mainly responsible for this development.  Big producers often do not use the forests sustainably, and the local people to cover their living costs exploit the forests ruthlessly. 

Project Objectives

Against the background that the project area is one of the most marginal regions of the country und the destruction of the forests is mainly due to the difficult income situation, a mechanism of forest and biodiversity conservation must be linked to improved income generation.  Ecological cultivation of indigenous species such as maté and officinal plants provide this opportunity. Planted between forest trees, shade plants like maté have many advantages for the ecosystem: Restoration of wildlife habitats and soil as well as improvement of the quality of the ecosystem services.

Project Activities

At the beginning of the project, with the assistance of the Mbaracayu Education Center (CEM), teachers and FMB employees, 95 families were selected for the cultivation of maté tea and officinal plants. In the course of the project they will learn how to use the cultivation areas sustainably and environment-friendly. For this purpose, training materials for the commercialisation and sales organisation will be prepared and disseminated.  After successful training, supervised by FMB employees, the families will cultivate mate tea (on approx. 90 % of the area) and officinal plants (on about 10 %) sustainably according to shade-grown production methods on one hectare of own land at the minimum. The objective of the project is to obtain a bio label for the production, therefore e.g. organic weed killers are used instead of chemical agents.

Project Sponsorship

The project is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and donations, including donors such as Environmental Action Germany and Rapunzel Naturkost via Hand in Hand Fund as well as Daimler AG.

Project Partner

Fundación Moisés Bertoni (FMB)

Further Information about the project area and our partners in situ are availabale on our web page under Lagunita Complex - Paraguay.

 Mbaracayu Forest Biosphere Reserve (MFBR).
 Mate seedlings
 Greater mate plant in a pot
 Mate plants for the cultivation in the project area
 Safflower cultivated as medical plant.
 Plant for processing the mate leaves

Project Supporter

 German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Project Partner

 Logo Fundación Moisés Bertoni (FMB)

Project Title:








Implementation Partner:


Main Funder: 





Conservation of Biodiversity and Traditional Cultures in the Mbaracayu Biosphere Reserve through Sustainable Forestry Management


November 2012 – December 2015 




Fundación Moisés Bertoni (FMB)


German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)


Daimler AG, Environmental Action Germany (DUH) and Rapunzel Naturkost with funds from the Hand in Hand-Fund, Stiftung Ursula Merz