The Guaranis are the tribe that brought us the mate culture and we feel it is our responsibility to do something regarding the injustices they are suffering.
As noted in the book Mate Leaks, South America is facing mate shortages due to the increasing demand of soya production, dictated by the global food industry. Combined with the growing popularity of sugarcane plantations for ethanol, this has led to the cutting of many native mate forests, as farmers, lured by government subsidies, to trade in their erveiras for plantations.
The reprecussion of the felling of Mate trees is demonstrated in the sharp increase in Mate prices over the past couple of years, as the drink of the common man in South America turns into a luxurious drink.
This unappreciation for the precious roots of Mate is unacceptable and we at Meta Mate refuse to go with the flow. Meta Mate is working closely with the HNE University in Eberswalde and select partners to implement a long-term sustainable mate harvesting program connected with reforestation.
The Argentinean government is reportedly trying to regularize the export of Mate in order to protect local markets. How this will affect the European Mate industry which relies heavily on Argentinean mate is yet to be seen.
Here below are some links in Portuguese to local reports on the Matecalypse that is gripping the region:
O cenário é preocupante para quem consome e trabalha com a erva-mate. Em pouco tempo, a matéria-prima da bebida-símbolo dos gaúchos pode virar artigo de luxo. http://g1.globo.com/rs/rio-grande-do-sul/campo-e-lavoura/noticia/2013/08/preco-da-erva-mate-para-chimarrao-dobra-em-quatro-anos-no-rs.html
Tradicionalmente o pequeno produtor recebe á vista e em dinheiro. http://g1.globo.com/economia/agronegocios/noticia/2013/07/baixa-oferta-eleva-o-preco-pago-ao-produtor-pela-erva-mate-no-rs.html