Sociedad Comercial Meliñir is a social enterprise that produces and commercialises pine nut products, promoting economic development for Mapuche communities.
Pine nut harvesting is an ancestral practice of the Mapuche communities in Chile. During harvesting season, entire families are engaged in the foraging and extraction of pine nuts, from children to elders.
The Mapuche are the largest indigenous community in Chile. Sociedad Comercial Meliñir, a Chilean social enterprise based in the Araucanía region, consists of four Mapuche families and sources from over 100 collecting families from the Quinquén and Pantuco Pedregoso communities.
Meliñir’s produces pine nut flour, pine nut couscous, pine nut coffee, preserved pine nuts, pine nut jam, through a process of artisanal grinding and roasting. These products are sold through wholesale channels to restaurants, healthy food stores and cooperatives in the Araucanía Region.
The nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber; when consumed regularly, they can improve heart and brain health, blood sugar levels, immune function and weight. For local communities, pine nuts provide a stable source of income.
Meliñir is committed to helping local collecting families to access fair income, offering them training in peeling and dehydration processes to increase their processing capacity. The enterprise has also collaborated with universities to conduct research on the health benefits of pine nuts. The findings helped to improve the value of pine nuts products in the market, empowering collecting families to sell their harvests at higher price points.
To further promote economic development for Mapuche communities, Meliñir offers tourism services, such as horseback tours, food services and lodging. This business line has increased the income and visibility of 100 pine nut collectors that reside in Lonquimay.