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Idea note submitted
Initial concept
Initial concept
As a fellow Lab member we invite you to offer the Landscape team your input. Particularly around the following categories:  Learning and collaboration Could you please look at the areas of interest for learning & collaboration expressed by the Landscape leads and contribute by sharing relevant existing initiatives, potential partners, key lessons learned or tools to support the Landscape development. Feasibility Please assess the feasibility of this program in particular the robustness of the theory of change and the risk/opportunities of the enabling environment in the area (political leadership /government interest, enabling policy, institutional and legal framework, land tenure status, ease of doing business, level of information; Strategic value What is for you the strategic value of this Landscape program? What make it attractive ? What is the financial potential? Next steps How would you like to be involved in the next steps of this Landscape development?
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Organic shade-grown yerba mate with biodiversity at its heart

The Atlantic Forest is one of the most diverse and most threatened biomes in the word. It is estimated that only 7% of its original cover remains to date. By developing an organic shade-grown yerba mate enterprise with the farmers from the Alto Verá District and the Mbyá Guarani from Arroyo Moroti Community, we are rewarding smallholders for their positive actions to conserve the forest and its wildlife, and creating forested corridors for a thriving biodiversity.

Landscape description

The San Rafael National Park is one of the largest remaining fragments of the Atlantic Forest in Paraguay. On paper, 72,000 hectares of forest became a National Park in 1992. However, large private landowners dedicated to conventional agriculture, mostly soybean production and cattle ranching, occupy much of the area. The smallholder farmers of the Mby´a Guaraní indigenous communities live within the Reserve. However much of their natural resource use is unsustainable too and they face low resilience to climate and market shocks. Guyra Paraguay co-own and manages a patchwork of forests in the region totaling 7,000 hectares.


Contact organisation

Local landscape lead

Main partners

Current partners:

  • Guyra Paraguay (NGO, implemention)
  • BirdLife International, via Trillion Trees (NGO, fundraising and technical support)
  • Guyaki (private sector)

Total area (ha)

72,000 hectares of San Rafael National Park is a patchwork of forest management systems, including areas managed by indigenous communities, the government, NGOs and land-owners. There is a large area of influence outside the San Rafael National Park that can become forested corridors through conversion to organic shade-grown yerba mate production. This ecological approach will connect fragments of forests and protected areas to create biodiversity corridors, which both animals and people can benefits from. The total area is currently being scoped.

Overall goal

Promote equitable yerba mate production and commercialization that rewards farmers for conservation actions and allows biodiversity to thrive.

Expected impacts

Currently we are working with 52 farmers. 100 hectares of yerba mate plantations have been converted to agro-forestry production systems, with potential expansion in strategic biodiversity corridors between protected areas and communities.

Given that the soy, illegal cannabis and logging operations are based on extractive production systems, the expected impact of the alternative agro-forestry systems is huge.

The impact is further amplified by commercial demand for organic and fair trade certified shade-grown yerba mate from the Atlantic Forest, which is supplied with a significant price premium.

Based on conservative calculations, we expect the enterprise to turnover a profit in its third year with approximately 60,000 kg of green leaves being harvested. Around 80% of this volume will come from re-forested plantations and 20% will be wild harvested.


Landscape approach

Sustainable production landscapes; Ecosystem / forest restoration landscapes; Agro-forestry production systems


Other - yerba mate (organic)

Related Sector

Agriculture; Conservation; Finance

Global brands present

Lead institution

Evelyn Brítez, Project Coordinator, Guyra Paraguay


50-100 M USD

Current sources of funding

Expected sources of funding

Donors: Darwin (pilot project, ended 2019), Trillion Trees Initiative (seed grant), Jensen (component of 3-year project), UNDP

Private: One corporate partner (technical support, small grants)


Proposed priority programs or sectors


edited on 8th April 2020, 07:04 by Deesha Chandra
Public (4)
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Deesha Chandra Nov 28, 2019

Hi Evelyn, thank you for submitting this concept. We're keen to hear more about where you are in the process of developing a full proposal? Do you already have a multi-stakeholder platform set up?

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Evelyn Brítez Dec 17, 2019

Hi Deesha. We are developing the strategy in the long-term and we aim to elaborate a proposal based on that strategy. We do not have a multi-stakeholder platform set up. Do you have any ideas or suggestions about that?

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Paul Chatterton Nov 28, 2019

Thanks Katie. Looks exciting. This seems to link well with another concept on the Atlantic Forest submitted by WWF-Paraguay which has Yerba Mate as one of the possible areas of action. It would be good to show the links and complementarity between both projects.

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Evelyn Brítez Dec 17, 2019

Hi Paul. Yes, it does have an interesting link to the yerba mate projects that are being implemented by WWF Paraguay. It would be good to have an update about at what stage they are with their concept and projects right now.

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Evelyn Brítez Dec 17, 2019

I am tagging the WWF Paraguay´s team members

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Devendra Rana Dec 1, 2019

I believe that the GCF Board has just approved USD 50 million for REDD+. It would suggest the project proponent to reach out to the Govt. Climate Change Unit to explore potential to explore access conditions to those funds.

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Evelyn Brítez Dec 17, 2019

Hi Devendra, thank you for suggestion. We would love to have more information about that funding opportunity.

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Devendra Rana Dec 19, 2019

Hi Evelyn,
My comment was if the project planned or was issuing carbon credits. If this is the case it would be useful to contact MADES (Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development) as it has established a provisional carbon registry and a final one should be online in 2020. I, unfortunately, don't further information on this or other potential funding opportunities.

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Marianne Smallwood Dec 11, 2019

Hi Katie, thanks for submitting. It sounds like a promising concept. In addition to understanding the parallels that exist with the WWF PY Atlantic Forest landscape, I'm interested to learn more about the projected scale of x number of farmers and how and who is driving demand for increased yerba mate. Cheers.

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Evelyn Brítez Dec 17, 2019

Hi Marianne, regarding the projected scale, in the short term we aim to work with at least 75 producers (including one indigenous community of 129 people who are considered as one production unit). The demand is being driven by a Company from the United States.

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