Since January 2009, our small local NGO Amazonas has been working with native Yanesha coffee producers in the Villa Rica and Oxapampa districts of central Peru. It has been a challenge, but now we can say that the Central de Productores Yaneshas, or CEPRO Yanesha, is up and running! They started selling their coffee locally, last year sent two containers of organic coffee to Germany.This year they will do two organic and two conventional to Germany and some high quality to Canada. It is a big change from when we first started talking with the Yanesha coffee producers. During these four and a half years, some Yanesha representatives have participated at SCAA and Biofach, which helps with the understanding of the international coffee trade.
Now, June 2013, we stand before a new challenge, and quite a unique one: Yanesha robusta coffee farmers! Peru is known as a 100 percent arabica coffee producing country and even most peruvians don’t know that robusta is being produced here. Over 25 years ago, two Yanesha villages in the lower part of the Villa Rica district were the beneficiaries of a state run program that was in search of a cash crop that could support these communities. One of the proposed crops was robusta coffee, which was installed and soon after abandoned by the program.
So now there are more than 40 hectares of robusta coffee in San Pedro and San Francisco de Pichanaz; but unfortunately, the farmers never got to learn how to grow robusta coffee. This has led to almost no plant maintanance, poor post harvest handling, very low production, and little to no income.
What we would like to achieve is the training of these farmers in propper robusta coffee farming. As well as the transformation of the coffee fields in well pruned, well fertilized, and well managed fields that produce high quality coffee. The farmers are already part of the CEPRO Yanesha organic certification program, which will also help in avoiding contamination and soil fertility loss as a result of poor agronomical practices.
I think our timing is perfect. At SCAA in Boston this year, we sensed that the general opinion on robusta coffee is slowly changing and the CQI now has the R-Grader program!
Who Benefits from this project?
The direct beneficiaries of this project are the robusta coffee farmers in San Pedro and San Francisco de Pichanaz. They are native Yaneshas that have lived in this area for thousands of years. So far their main source of income has been some timber extraction, suplemented by subsistance farming and some fishing and hunting. A better income from robusta coffee farming would mean less need to extract timber which would reduce the pressure on the natural resources of these communities.
The indirect beneficiaries would be all of the members of the CEPRO Yanesha coffee organization. We think that introducing small volumes of high quality robusta coffee into the international market can help improve CEPRO Yanesha’s coffee sales in general. It is also an opportunity to let the world know about Yanesha culture.
CEPRO Yanesha now has a total of 151 coffee producing members, 24 of which are robusta farmers from San Pedro de Pichanaz. There are an estimate 20 more in San Francisco de Pichanaz, who will soon be contacted to join the organization.
How Can I Help?
For the execution of this project, we would like to receive an expert on small scale robusta coffee production who can analize and suggest ways to improve the coffee fields and post harvest handling. Also, an expert R-Grader who can teach our Q-Graders how to roast and cup robusta coffee.
And last but not least, we would like to receive donations to be able to send out technical staff to help the farmers implement these new techniques and practices. All our office expenses are covered, so all donations would go directly to the implementation of the project.
Contact Name: Rianne van der Bom
Web Site: N/A
Location: Villa Rica/Oxapampa/Peru
Email Address: email@example.com
Phone Number: +51954090045