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What is Chicza? | Chicza

What is Chicza?

Chicza is a 100% natural chewing gum. It is sustainably harvested from the chicozapote tree in the Mayan Forest. It is an organically certified and biodegradable gum, produced by a consortium of cooperatives under a fair trade scheme.


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The tropical forests in southeast Mexico, along with the forests of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua, are part of the Great Peten—the second largest tropical forest in the American continent after the Amazonian.

In contrast with other regions in the country, where 80% of forests have been destroyed by tree logging, livestock and agricultural activities incompatible with the ecosystem, these tropical forests have not only survived, but have thrived and currently cover 3.2 million acres in the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan.

 1. The Process: From the Tree to the Factory.

The “Chiclero” approaches the chicozapote tree, he takes a look at it, analyses it, he touches it and tries it with his machete. He makes a final decision and starts climbing with great skill using nothing but his own body and a few of simple tools. He climbs to the highest part of the tree clinging to what will provide him sustenance. His skill is fascinating; the job is hard and oftentimes dangerous, but it is something they learn at an early age from their skilled parents and grandparents. The gum harvest takes place during the rainy season, when trees are very hydrated and there is a proliferation of mosquitoes that constantly attack. Concentration is essential, for a bad use of the machete can cut the rope that holds them to the tree, causing a dangerous fall with serious or fatal consequences.

These men of the forest start and finish their intense work day with their sharp machete on their backs. All the way from the base of the trunk, which can grow up to one metre in diameter, they make zigzag incisions that will help them climb and cut the bark, which can be up to 30 metres high. They hang on to the tree with a rope strapped to their waist, and as they climb and carry their own weight, they place the hooks of their rubber boots onto the new incisions. As they cut, the latex will start to drain drop by drop through these “V-shape” cuts on the trunk until it reaches the bee wax-sealed henequen bags that were previously attached at the base of the tree. Depending on size and previous use, a chicozapote can yield between one half and two kilograms of latex. Once it has been worked, or “chicleado”, the tree is allowed to “rest” for at least five years.

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At the end of a workday, or by the next morning, the latex is collected from the bags and filtered in order to extract the impurities before it is boiled in metal containers. The latex will gradually lose humidity obtaining a sticky and elastic consistency. Once it is cold and it reaches the right point, it is placed into wooden moulds to shape them into “forms” known as maquetas. They are then collected and taken to the regional collection centres and the industrial plan in Chetumal, where the elaboration process takes places. To form the “base”, the gum in the maquetas is melted and combined with natural waxes. While it is still hot, it is sweetened with organic products like agave syrup in addition to natural flavouring. It is then compacted and moulded into chewing gum sticks. The exclusive use of natural ingredients and processes results in an exceptional, organic and biodegradable product, different from the artificial world of synthetic gum.

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CONTACT
consorcio_chiclero Consorcio Chiclero, SC de RL
Independencia 15
Centro
77000 Chetumal, Quintana Roo
Email:
Mayan Rainforest Co Ltd
Units C&D Walton Avenue
Felixstowe, Suffolk
1P11 3HH United Kingdom
CERTIFICATIONS
certs