Alimentos Nutri-Naturales Sociedad Anónima (ANSA) is community-based, women’s initiative which was started in order to reduce poverty and promote an alternative and nutritious food source. It began in 2005 when a few women from Ixlu, Petén, Guatemala were trained in the uses of the Maya nut, a forest product once eaten by their ancient Mayan ancestors but long-since forgotten. The women began selling products made from this nut, established a private company, and began to incorporate more women into the harvesting and production processes. In 2006, they received the Equator Prize which provided them with the capital necessary to establish a Maya nut processing system and begin producing on a larger scale. During 2008 and 2009, ANSA continued to expand its production and national sales and even began to export its products, thus entering a period of dramatic growth.
The forests where the women of ANSA collect Maya nuts are under the management and authority of the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) which is the governing body of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. (more about ecosystem, environmental pressure, importance in terms of biodiversity)
The objectives of ANSA are to bring together rural women in order to protect local forests, soils, watersheds, and wildlife, and to promote Maya nut collection for marketing, thus combating food vulnerability, malnutrition, and poverty. The larger vision of the company is to become and remain a leader in the development and production of Maya nut-based food products for the benefit of the local population, placing a special emphasis on children’s health.