President Mauricio Macri gave his unconditional support to the request made by the provinces of Misiones and Corrientes so that the so-called Ruta de la Yerba Mate
be declared a Unesco World Heritage.
Through a message, President Mauricio Macri expressed his support for the proposal, which received the immediate response of the President of the Route,
Juan Gruber, who stressed the importance of this support and sent him “a strong yerbatero hug.”
The Route of the Yerba Mate recreates in the present time for the tourism the way of commercialization of the green leaf between the jesuíticas missions as of
the year 1645. The initiative is based on the fact that the Route is a cultural, productive and gastronomic itinerary unique in the world, that crosses fields of red earth and abundant vegetation, natural wonders and Patrimonies of the Humanity (The Guarani Jesuit Missions, and the Cataracts del Iguazú, Unesco, 1984), myths
and traditions of a people that takes root on the basis of pre-Hispanic cultures, Jesuit legacies, criollo gauchos and European immigrant settlers.
It is currently the main food route of Mercosur, crosses the north of the province of Corrientes and the entire territory of Misiones and is organized in circuits.
It also connects with Cataratas, the Moconá waterfalls, the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve of Unesco and the Jesuit-Guarani Missions, declared World Heritage Sites (in Misiones), as well as the Esteros del Iberá, a wetland of 1, 3 million hectares, declared a Ramsar site (in Corrientes).
For these attributes of exceptional universal value, steps have been taken for the inclusion of the Yerba Mate Route in the Unesco World Heritage List.
The infusion of yerba mate, (Ilex Paraguariensis, its scientific name), a tree native to the subtropical rainforest of South America, is currently a habit, which dates back to the original Guarani peoples (before the arrival of the White man).
The Guarani transmitted to the fathers of the Society of Jesus how to consume yerba mate through infusions (which in the Guarani language was called “Caá-Mati”)
with energizing and revitalizing properties.
The Jesuits, together with the Guarani people, developed the first cultivation yerba trees, located in the area of influence of the Jesuit-Guarani Missions themselves, since it was previously harvested in the mountains. The Ruta de la Yerba Mate was born in the year 1645, in full development of the epic of the Jesuit missions when the Ruta de Comercialización de la Yerba Mate was approved, which allowed free circulation and the exchange of green gold among the 30 towns Jesuits
and their system of stays.
This route of commercialization extended to the Alto Peru, Asunción, Buenos Aires, the states of the South of Brazil, Montevideo, the South of what is now Argentina, Chile. From the port of Buenos Aires and other ports in the region, it was exported to Europe for consumption as “tea of the Jesuits” and infusion.
Such was the importance and significance of the yerba mate in the reductions, that even the first books printed in the Mission of Loreto, that had the first printing press elaborated by the Jesuits, before this Nation is the Argentine Republic and before of course of being the Viceroyalty of the Río de La Plata, they were made with yerba mate ink (dark green coloration).
The Jesuits unraveled many secrets and generated a versatile application of yerba mate, how to apply yerba to inks, dyes, as a product for health and care of the organism (soaps, cream, etc., based on this product created by Tupá- Dios, according to the Guaraní tradition.
Nowadays, the Yerba Mate Route takes tourists to visit traditional artisanal, ecological and industrial establishments, in which the complete production process can be known, from the extensive plantations through harvesting, drying, grinding. and the packaging of the final product, immersed in a unique landscape: the Corrientes countryside and the missionary jungle.
In the tour the visitor can make tastings of different varieties of mates: traditional, organic, leaf only, among others, discover their energizing properties and
learn all aspects of the “ceremony of mate”, which is an important part of the everyday life of the Argentines.
This productive modality initiated by the Jesuits and the Guarani was continued by the immigrants who settled in these lands and can be traced in the museums and
historical sites along the Route.
Yerba Mate numbers:
The “national infusion” far surpasses other beverages in Argentina: about 100 liters per capita of yerba mate are consumed per year, compared to 50 for soda, 34
for beer, 30 for wine and 18 for mineral water. In another comparison, a consumption of 6.25 kg of yerba mate per person per year stands out against 0.9 kg of
coffee and 0.16 kg of tea. There are also gender statistics: 73% of Argentineans drink mate, and almost 60% of that universe are women.
There are also numerous gastronomic ventures in which you can taste all the diversity of dishes, desserts and drinks that, in this area, are prepared and seasoned
with yerba mate: breads, cheeses, ice creams, alfajores, chocolates, liqueurs and beers are just Some of the 200 foods and drinks that combine yerba mate with other
typical products of the area.
The Yerba Mate was declared “Argentine Brand” by the Ministry of Tourism of the Nation and “Country Brand, Destination Brand – Symbol of the Productive Culture
Argentina” by the Ministry of Culture of the Nation and Presidency of the Nation.
Represents Argentina through the Foreign Ministry and the National Institute of Tourism Promotion Argentina (Inprotur) as an exportable product (yerba mate and its
derivatives) and a good that allows the importation (of tourist services) to know the oldest product , autochthonous, authentic and representative of the country;
“Green gold or yerba mate”.
The Ruta de la Yerba Mate Association is the non-profit entity of Misiones y Corrientes that promotes and directs the Route. The yerba mate and its Route do not
replicate in other continents, unlike other products such as tea and wine. This feature makes it unique and therefore the request to integrate the Unesco heritage.