"The positive scenario was only possible due to the work carried out by Pasta more than 70 years ago, since the introduction in Brazil by the Agronomic Instit[IAC]ute in the 1950s, aiming to evaluate its behavior in plantations in São Paulo, especially in the Paraíba Valley, and by the work of the Seedling Production Center of São Bento do Sapucaí, linked to the Coordination of Sustainable Rural Development (CDRS) , which, from the 1980s, made the introduction of material and maintenance of germplasm banks and matrices that provide propagation material for living farmers, as well as generated a technological package for seedling production and management of this fruit, whose commercial cultivation until then was unfeasible", explains Silvana Catarina Sales Bueno, agronomist of the Secretariat, who works at the Núcleo de São Bento do Sapucaí.
The agronomist also points out that, in this period, management was not economically viable for producers and there was no adequate rootstock that would adapt to the Southeast region. "That's when agronomist Takanoli Tokunaga beg[hoje aposentado, mas que atuava como diretor no NPM São Bento de Sapucaí]an the first experiments with cold-earth araticun and mirim, native plants tolerant to drills that infest the atemoia plant. The tests were positive and it was noticed that the araticuns, due to their rusticity and adaptation in the region, would be the ideal rootstocks of the variety. To this day they are responsible for the success of the paulista atemoia", he recalls.
Since then, the fruit has become more present at the Table of Brazilians, generating income and employment in the field. In São Paulo, which alternates the position of the largest producer in the country with Minas Gerais, there are more than 400 producers who cultivate it in an area of more than 800 hectares.
Adailton Macabelli has been growing the fruit for ten years in the municipality of Leme. "I have been a citrus grower for over 20 years, but with the advance of green[doença que causa grande dano à citricultura]ing I decided to invest in other fruits. At that time, the work of the extensionists of CDRS was fundamental, because in addition to technical follow-up I was able to have access to the seedlings of excellent quality of the NPM of São Bento do Sapucaí to form the orchard. I also participated in training, which helped me to have a better management and improve production. Currently, about 80% of my production is sold through companhia de entrepostos e Armazéns Gerais de São Paulo,[Ceagesp] but I am hopeful that, after this period of pandemic, I can start exporting", he says.
In the last ten years, the actions related to the development of this crop have resulted in an increase of more than 1,000% in the volume of fruit produced, due to the fact that the Secretariat has established partnerships with universities, research entities from other states, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa), fruit growers and others involved with the production chain, which is now extended by several Brazilian states , to meet the demand for technology and adjustments in management, according to the socio-environmental and importing country requirements.
"Actions that allow rural producers to have more options in relation to risky crops such as plum and citrus, exchanging for the cultivation of atemoia that is profitable, sustainable, socially fair and has leveraged the success of many families throughout the country, maintaining and/or bringing their children to the countryside, that is, promoting rural succession," Silvana says.
A partnership between researchers from the Paulista State University (Unesp), extensionists and producers from the Region of Itapetininga and Sorocaba, one of the main producers of the fruit in the state, with the municipality of Pilar do Sul as a highlight, resulted in the elaboration of a digital tool that indicates the levels of nutrition of the plant.
Called CND (Nutrition Composition Diagnosis), this tool is available free of charge to producers on the Unesp website (https://www.registro.unesp.br/#!/sites/cnd/).
"Cnd Atemoia, easy to use, shows the fruit grower what is missing and what is left in terms of macro and micronutrients, facilitating the search for the nutritional balance of plants, a key piece for the maximum quality and productivity of the orchards", explains Luiz Carlos de Carvalho Leitão, director of CDRS Regional Itapetininga, one of the authors of this work, stating that producers interested in more information can contact by e-mails email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Internal market and export
The investment in knowledge, production technology and commercialization, which have resulted in excellent export numbers in recent years (at the moment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a downturn in foreign trade) has consolidated what fruit growing experts have pointed out in recent years: Brazilian atemoia has stood out in the national and international markets with great potential for adding value , income generation and employment, moving the links of an extensive production chain.
The growth of the cultivation of the product in Brazil is mainly due to the production capacity at various times of the year, the high productivity and the possibility of producing more than one crop throughout the year.
"The cultivation reaches, on average, good price in th[exceção neste momento de pandemia]e market, for its differentiated flavor and the potential for increased consumption, since many people still do not know this fruit, but when they know it 'become customers'", says Silvana, who in addition to specialized technique in culture, is also a producer.
Corroborating this thought, Jarinu producer Waldir Parise ponders. "We are a family that has been working in agriculture for four generations, our main crop being peach. But about ten years ago we had greater contact with atemoia, in visits to other producers and events held by the Núcleo de São Bento do Sapucaí, whose research and technical work are essential for producers. We fell in love with the fruit and its incredible taste and, even realizing that it was not so well known, we see its potential", says the producer, who today exports atemoia to Canada, the United Kingdom and even the Middle East.
For this, it took a lot of investment in production management, technology and professionalization in all links, from planting to commercialization. "We produce on about 10 hectares, currently having 5 hectares in production, with a productivity of 25 to 30 tons per hectare. We adopt all production technologies and equipment, with special attention to harvesting and post-harvest, such as air compressor for individual cleaning of each fruit and electronic classification machines, in addition to following a strict sanity program", he adds.
Hélio Satoshi Watanabe, agronomist at Ceagesp's Center for Horticultural Quality, points out that the fruit had a great growth in marketing in the domestic and foreign markets.
"The atemoia sold at Ceagesp occupies the 26th position among 72 fruits, with a volume of 2,655.01 tons, moving more than R$ 18 million. In recent years, we have seen a large increase in exports as well," says the agronomist.
"The classification adopted in the market is still subjective, being necessary, on the part of all producers, regardless of the size of the production, the definition of standard in aspects such as uniformity in size, flavor, coloring and packaging. Another important factor is to create a bond of quality reliability with consumers, a brand of its own", he points out.
The agronomist reinforces that care for the fruit after harvest is indispensable. "As the fruit requires intensive cultural treatments to enable very high quality, it is necessary to invest more and more in production technology, adequate packaging and transportation, skilled and skilled labor, management and professionalization, inside and outside the gate," he says.
Another interesting fact, raised by Luiz Leitão, from CDRS Itapetininga, is that the plant begins to bear fruit between the 4th and 5th years of planting, but with the correct management, there are production records already in the third year, with fruits on a commercial scale.
The plants of the anonaceae family, which belongs to atemoia, have nutraceutical characteristics, mainly antidepressant and antitumor, recognized by international research.
"At this time, when social distancing calls for greater health enhancement, with special attention to mental health, consuming fruits such as atemoia, brings excellent benefits, in addition to healthy eating," says Silvana Bueno, noting that the fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals and the sugars that compose it are a mixture of fructose, glucose and sucrose that, in adequate amounts , promote energy.
The agronomist highlights a research conducted by the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) revealed that the fruit has antioxidant action and anti-inflammatory compounds, which prevent diseases such as arteriosclerosis and inflammations such as arthritis and arthrosis.
"The researchers analyzed the dehydrated fruit and concluded that the pulp has as much potassium as banana; already the seed has fatty acids such as omega 3 and 6, nutrients found in foods such as olive oil, which lower bad cholesterol without altering the good, preventing cardiovascular diseases. They also found that the peel is richer than the pulp in nutrients, having bioactive compounds that are good for health, and can be used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries", he emphasizes.
Those interested in atemoia seedlings and more information can contact the Núcleo de São Bento do Sapucaí of CDRS. Because of the PANDEMIC OF COVID-19, the return of sales by email or telephone, with withdrawal schedule, is scheduled for August. The contact can be made by the numbers (12) 3971-2046/1306 or email@example.com.