Licuris, mangabas and red rice were just three of 21 Brazilian products included in a 2010 list of endangered foods, reported Revistagloborural.globo.com.
The ‘Ark of Taste’ list published by international organization Slow Food, includes products that aren’t commonly known in international markets but are still very important to certain communities, in terms of traditions and the nutrients they deliver.
The story reported the endangerment of fruit species was due to several factors, including unsustainable harvesting, low demand, low profitability, disinterest in commercialization and the loss of traditions.
For example, the Licuri is a type of Brazilian palm that produces fruit similar to coconuts, while the Babaçu is another palm whose fruits are used by traditional communities in the Maranhão region to make flour.
Piemonte de Diamantina Production Cooperative president Josenaide Alves, told Globo Rural efforts were underway to protect the Licuri plant, using its leaves to feed animals during the dry season in a bid to encourage new plantations.
The list included the mangaba, also known as an egg-fruit, which grows in northeastern Brazil where it is used to make ice cream, candy and juice among other products. The Mangaba tree belongs to the Apocynaceae or dogbane family, making it a cousin of frangipanis and many evergreen trees that grow around the world.
On a broader international level the list includes 750 endangered products across 48 countries.
Other endangered fruits in the Southern Hemisphere
Chilean white strawberries were also included in the list, noted as the name suggests for their colorless appearance, with a similar taste to pineapples.
The Bunya nut from the Australian state of Queensland was listed in the Ark of Taste as well, as a traditional food for certain indigenous communities.
Other products under the ‘fruit’ category included Venezuela’s Barlovento cacao, Peru’s San Marcos Andean Fruit, Ecuador’s Nacional Cacao and Argentina’s Araucaria pine nuts.
The Slow Food movement began in Italy in 1989 with the aim to counter modern fast food and 'fast life' practices, to promote local traditions and an understanding of where food comes from. The organization has 100,000 members worldwide.