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With a cigarette in one hand and a muddy machete in the other, Brazilian grandmother Maria Nobre de Oliveira thinks high-end chocolate will help end the epidemic of deforestation ravaging Amazon communities like hers. Her community of a few dozen residents live in hand-built wooden houses with no electricity or running water in the world's largest rainforest, more than six hours by river boat from the nearest town in Brazil's southwestern Amazonas state.Residents in isolated Amazon settlements say they have few opportunities to make a living other than clearing land to raise cattle – part of the reason why Amazon deforestation rates in Brazil shot up 29 percent last year after years of decline.Brazilian officials say projects like the cocoa co-op are helping residents make a living from the land while moving away from deforestation.In the Arapixi reserve, residents used to harvest cocoa for their own consumption and began selling it to a cooperative 10 years ago.
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