The annual collection service of the numerous fruit, which at this time of the year falls from the numerous mango trees that populate the streets, squares and gardens of Asunción, plans to allocate part of its peculiar harvest this year to brewing beer.
Each summer, a peculiar truck called the "Mangomóvil", runs through the 68 neighborhoods of the Paraguayan capital in search of a peculiar raw material, which grows free in the most abundant trees in the city, the mango, to make food and give, of step, job opportunities for low-income people.
The novelty of this year, is that a good part of the mangoes collected by the municipal service will be used to brew beer, explained the project coordinator, Domi Benítez, to Efe.
Benítez explained that the Municipality "is responsible for the collection" and "classification" of the fruit, depending on which are "suitable for consumption" and those that are not, and that are later donated to private companies that produce food products with them.
From the sale of these products, he explained, these companies "grant us 30 or 40 annual scholarships to study gastronomy in the high schools of Asunción".
These scholarships are aimed at "people from the most vulnerable areas" of the city, where they carry out a selection among those who are interested in participating, whose most usual profile, according to the coordinator of the initiative, "are ladies, heads of households and single mothers. "
To date, some 120 people have benefited from these aids, according to Benítez.
The initiative arose, Benítez said, to "solve a specific problem" that is the "fruit harvest" that "we can not join with the normal collection because of the great weight and because the fruit has an acid that breaks down" the box compactor of garbage trucks.
He affirmed that, although before the fallen fruit of the trees in the summer time was already collected, from 2016 "we saw the need to elaborate products" from the mangoes, with the idea of "taking advantage of a fruit that we have in large quantities "and change the mentality of the people, teaching that mango is not garbage.
This is how, for the last three years, the ten collectors and two trucks that make up the mango harvesting team that works in two shifts, recycle a natural product, transforming it into "jams, sweets and this year, beers", which previously ended in the Asuncen landfills.
However, the production of beer this first year will be reduced because this year "there was a significant decrease in fruit due to weather factors, which also affected the flowering of trees," explained the project coordinator.
According to the data handled, in 2017 the "Mangomóvil" initiative collected "2,400 tons" of usable mangoes in the two months of the campaign, December and January, while in the only two weeks that they have been working this year, they have only collected 10 tons of that fruit.
Benítez explained that, although they collect the mangoes from public areas, they also function as a "service that citizens can call" so that the "Mangomóvil" goes to collect the fruits to their homes, so they recommend the neighbors to pick up the fruit of their gardens and "keep it in the fridge" so that it does not deteriorate until they come to look for it.
Also, he indicated that part of the collection of each year goes to the penitentiaries of the city, although without going through any process of preparation.
Currently the Municipality of Asunción does not have data about the population of mango trees that are in the city, although it is planning an "application" to know the "population density" of that plant in the different neighborhoods of the capital, to optimize future collected, Benitez finished.