We have heard varying reports from Brazil about the COVID-19 situation in the country, can you give us an update as to how things are in Greater Manaus, Amazonas?
Although the situation in Brazil is still of big concern, in Amazonas the worst is already behind us. We are in a very stable situation with enough resources in medical care, medicines, oxygen and other needs. Our vaccination programme is progressing well, with the population of over 60s already receiving their first dose, as well as most of the population with any kind of vulnerability. We have also prepared a contingency plan should a third wave strike.
We see from your background that before your position in state government, you were a senior executive in the Coca-Cola organization in Latin America. With your commercial and product experience, can you tell us what your thoughts are regarding the importance of a circular bioeconomy when it comes to consumer brands and products?
It has always been part of the Coca-Cola culture to support local communities. In my personal experience I had the opportunity to work on the creation of a bio-industry in Manaus which is how in the area of cosmetics and includes the development of the guaraná and Acaí berry chains in the state. All of these activities had, and still maintains the participation of the local population. There has been a huge improvement in their quality of life, having income growth of more than four times after participation in these initiatives. Therefore, the bioeconomy is already a huge benefit for all involved.
The World BioEconomy Forum 2021 will be held in your home country of Brazil, and specifically in Belém, the gateway to Amazon. What are your expectations for the Forum?
Firstly, for the participants to understand that there are people living in the forest and they need to have the opportunity to stay where they are and still have a good quality of life. Secondly, we need to scale up the products from our biodiversity. It is not only the raw material, but products locally developed and processed with much more value added. This will allow us to impact the local economy and share the gains with the local people.
It is our objective, in the case of the State of Amazonas to have the bioeconomy providing 10% or more in our state GDP.
Jorió Veiga is one of the esteemed panelists at the World BioEconomy Forum Roundtables coming soon, discussing the various financing sources for sustainable bioeconomy.