Our history

Get to know us through our history

In July 1929, in a summer (Natsu /夏) day in Japan, a time of abundant rain, 189 people left their motherland to an unknown region, the Amazon.

It was a 45-day trip from Kobe to Santos, aboard the impressive Montevideo Maru. From São Paulo, the 89 families went to the state of Pará, completing a 2-month journey. They did not know at that time, but there began the history of CAMTA, marked by resilience, patience and perseverance.

First group of Japanese immigrants 1929

CAMTA’s history goes hand in hand with the history of Japanese migration to Brazil, and with the history of the city of Tome-Açú, in Pará. Our products embody the biography of many families that strived to grow and innovate, respecting the customs of their ancestors, and adding the cultural and regional values.

Initial plantations and Amazonian learning

Once in Pará, the families faced the challenges of settling in a new place, learning a new language, adapting to a very rainy humid climate, and to unknown tropical peculiarities, such as agricultural pests and diseases.

The first farming attempt included cocoa, subsistence cultures, and vegetables. However, the land in the region did not resist monoculture, and reacted with plagues, leading to failure. The black pepper cycle only prospered after 1945, when Brazil became the largest world exporter of this spice, which became known as the black diamond.

Pátio de secagem.

Finally, in 1949, the Mixed Agricultural Cooperative of Tome-Açu, CAMTA (Cooperativa Agrícola Mista de Tome-Açu), was established. It was the first agricultural cooperative in the state, becoming one of the oldest in the country. The cooperative consolidated the work and know-how already underway in those lands.

However, CAMTA’s major productive breakthrough actually began with agroforestry cultivation, in the 1970s. The goal was to bring economic stability to producers with the consortium of different species of fruit and forest plants in declining areas previously planted with black pepper.

Cacaueiro.

Production was diversified through the development of the Tomé-Açu Agroforestry System – known as SAFTA, for its acronym in Portuguese. This system is inspired by the experience of riverside peoples, living in the banks of Amazon rivers, of planting in their own backyards, the multi-crop cultivation of fruit and forest trees, mimicking the forest. The most promising crops are replicated, reclaiming the landscape of deforested areas, and forming a mosaic of agroforestry plantations.

SAFTA’s production has transformed the region into an important exporter of tropical fruits and a reference in the development, innovation, and dissemination of the SAFTA technology in Brazil and other countries, such as Bolivia and Ghana, by means of cooperation initiatives.

Timeline of the reference colonization fo sustainable farming in the Amazon

1929

The onset: our base

Arrival of the first immigrants, at the Companhia Nipônica do Brasil, and start of agricultural production of vegetables and jute.

1931

The first cooperative organization

The Vegetable Cooperative of Acará was created, with the challenge of influencing the diet of the people of Belém, the capital city.

1932

Construction of the local hospital

In a critical period of malaria, the Quatro-Bocas Hospital was built, changing the initial project of a school. The hospital become a reference for malaria treatment.

1934

Makinosuke Usui and the pepper seedlings from Singapore

Tomoji Kato and Enji Saito received and planted the region's first three black pepper seedlings.

1949

Official establishment of CAMTA

Official registry of CAMTA - Cooperativa Agrícola Mista de Tomé-Açu - the Mixed Agricultural Cooperative of Tome-Açu.

1950

CAMTA’s brand is created

Creation of the logo through a contest within CAMTA. Winner: Mr. Katsutoshi Nichio

1959

Emancipation of the municipality

Emancipation of Tomé-Açu. The first Nikkei councilors were elected.

1961

JAMIC

Opening of JAMIC and election of the first Nikkei mayor, Mr. Fukashi Sawada.

1966

Cultural expansion and appreciation

The Cultural Association of Tomé-Açu was built, reaching 400 members (at the KONMINKAN period), and the Black Pepper Warehouse was built in the following year.

1971

Inauguration of a new hospital and new roads

The JAMIC hospital was inaugurated, and the road from Tomé-Açu to Belém was opened.

1972

Black pepper production

Black pepper production exceeded 5 thousand tons. In the same year, the road from Tomé-Açu to Belém was inaugurated.

1972

New Institute, further investment in technology

The INATAM institute (Tropical Agriculture Experimental Institute of the Amazon) was established to research and find alternatives to tackle the black pepper disease (Fusarium).

1972

Rising cocoa prices in international markets

Cocoa prices rise from U$ 400.00 to U$ 4,800.00 / ton.

1974

Appreciation of fruits of the Amazon

Introduction of cupuaçu cultivation.

1979

Strengthened relations with Japan

Visit by the Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Michio Watanabe.

1981

Association to promote local farming

Creation of the Agricultural Promotion Association of Tomé-Açu, with Japanese Government funds, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

1983

Facing a crisis and Japan’s support

Economic crisis was already established. A 10-year planting plan was set up to be supported by JICA funds, aiming at recovery.

1987

Expansion and diversification

Expansion and diversification of activities with the establishment of agroindustry facility. Tomé-Açu Electricity and Telephony Cooperative was founded.

1996

Yet another champion fruit

Beginning of açaí cultivation.

2000

Studies and improvements

Beginning of Academic Studies on the Agroforestry System in Tomé-Açu.

2002

Joint efforts

Merging of the Agricultural Promotion Association of Tomé-Açu - ASFATA - with the Cultural Association of Tomé-Açu - ACTA

2006

More storage, better service

Increased storage capacity from 1,000 tons to 2,000 tons.

2008

Institutional strengthening

Inauguration of the Oil Extraction Plant, and CAMTA incorporates COERTA.

2009

Recognition of SAFTA

Sustainable production within family fruit farming, and recognition of the Tomé-Açu Agroforestry System (SAFTA) as an international reference.

2010

Acknowledgment and award

Awarded the Cocoa of Excellence Award at the International Cocoa Awards, the Brazilian Regional Development Award - PNDR, and the Chico Mendes Award, in the Sustainable Business category.

2012

More support for our members

Inauguration of Casa do Cooperado, a cooperative members center.

2014

New awards

FINEP Award for Social Technology in the North Region, and expansion of the chamber to 3 tons.

2016

Business expansion and growth

Expansion of the agroindustry's manufacturing area.

2019

Royal visit

Visit of Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako Akishino to CAMTA, and the Samuel Benchimol Award.

2019

Anniversary celebration

Commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Japanese immigration to the Amazon.

> CAMTA today