Justa Casto Quispe

Concession 17-TAM/C-OPB-J-081-02 is managed by Justa Castro Quispe, is located in the Madre de Dios region in Tahuamanu province; it has a surface area of 651.79 hectares.

Justa, 60 years old, was born in Cuzco, and became an Amazonian nut harvester. At the age of 17, she dropped out of school, left her family and all that was familiar to her to travel to Puerto Maldonado with a friend, without even imagining that he would later be her husband.

Together they bought a piece of land, planting and harvesting what was necessary for their own sustenance. They worked the concession from 5am until 6pm.

At the time it was difficult to determine what was the exact time in the open countryside, they set a natural clock based on the events happening around them. “When parrots arrived singing, we knew it was noon, and when they started to leave, we knew it was 5pm.”

Justa used to be personally involved in each phase of the nuts’ harvesting and distribution, though her work was not duly rewarded with an adequate salary. Justa carried the 75 kg barrels of Amazonian nuts to the harbour to sell them.

After a miscarriage, Justa and her husband missed their only chance to have a child and Justa became depressed for months. When she eventually recovered, Justa started her livestock farming activity which she continues today.

As she says: “Hard work and perseverance made me a strong woman with an entrepreneurial spirit.” 

After another terrible loss following her husband’s death, Justa, with her strong and positive personality, entrepreneurial talent and the help of her nephew who has been supporting her for 13 years, opened a restaurant.

Justa would love to carry out other eco-friendly activities in her concession, including showing tourists how to take care of the forest and the benefits this can bring humanity, taking as an example all the things that the forest has been giving to her.