The Chicleros

The Chicleros are considered the true guardians of the Maya Forest because thanks to their activities they protect the second largest rainforest in the continent after the Amazon Rainforest, composed of the forests in Southern Mexico and Central America.

Since the first half of the twentieth century, driven by the increase in popularity and the growing demand for chewing gum, the chicle cooperatives have expanded and consolidated. They even survived the attempt of political control that in the 1970s tried to put an end to agricultural cooperatives in Mexico, and not only have they remained independent, but have also become stronger and better organised.

So, in the new millennium, they founded the Chiclero Consortium that had among its primary objectives the plan to realise an old and important project: develop the ability to transform gum from a raw product into a finished product.

Five years later Chicza hit the market, the first 100% natural and biodegradable certified chewing gum, the result of the entrepreneurial spirit, solidarity and perseverance of the members of the cooperative.

Using sustainable practices in the cultivation and exploitation of the rubber tree, the producers have contributed to the conservation of the Mexican jungle in the Yucatan Peninsula, home of Maya culture, the jaguar and one of the ecosystems with the richest and most various biodiversity on the planet!

The tropical forests in the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan have survived and prospered and today they extend for 1.3 million hectares, compared to other regions of the country where 80% of the original forests have been lost due to the cutting of trees for cattle ranching and agricultural work in contrast with this ecosystem.

The lushness of these forests debunks the theory that conservation and environmental preservation is due to the absence of man. When communities become aware of the importance of environmental protection as a source of wealth and achieve sustainable management of their economic activities, not only they manage to live in harmony with nature but they also become the first to protect their own resources. It is the case of the inhabitants of these forests that produce gum, who for over a century have lived off the extraction of latex from the Sapodilla tree while being exploited by multinational oil companies. Eventually, preferring petroleum products, these companies abandoned them and left them with a destroyed economy.

But from now on, Maya culture will get recognition again all around the world!

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