Cuencas del huallaga
CUENCAS DEL HUALLAGA: COCOA PRODUCER IN PERU
Nestled approximately 400m above sea level in the picturesque region of San Martin, Peru, a dedicated group of almost 800 farmers lovingly nurturing their crops. They specialise in cultivating high quality Fairtrade and organic cocoa and they span the vast territories of Campanilla, San Jose de Sisa and Pucallpa - a testament to the far-reaching impact of Cuencas del Huallaga.
Expanding Exponentially, and Organically
Cultivated in Peru for almost 2,000 years, cocoa is an important player in the country’s economy, with over 50,000 indigenous people earning a living through this precious commodity. Founded in 2018 by 24 farmers, Cuencas del Huallaga are a fairly new co-operative, however, over that time they have expanded their operations and now work with 800 farmers. They have also increased the amount of cocoa they export to international markets; now exporting 98% of their produce.
The cocoa beans collected by farmers are classfied as grade 1, allowing them to be sold to international buyers in the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. The co-operative have been a Shared Interest customer since 2019 and we have been able to prefinance these cocoa contracts. Thanks to the implementation of their organic programme, Cuencas del Huallaga have been able to expand their capacity, increasing production from 160 MT to 1,000 MT. As a result of this expansion and following recent technological advances, they are now able to offer a higher price to cocoa farmers for their product.
General Manager Michel Valles told us:
“The technology is enabling our co-operative to sell cocoa at good prices, ensuring 100% of the cocoa we produce meets organic standards. It has improved our communication with farmers and has opened up new markets for us.”
A TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTION IN THE PERUVIAN AMAZON
In 2022, Cuencas del Huallaga faced a temporary suspension of their organic certification, after traces of pesticides were found in their cocoa, meaning that the cocoa harvested was unable to be sold as organic, forcing them to sell at a lower price. General Manager Michel Valles told us:
“The suspension of the license hit us hard. Some of our farms are very close to non-organic farms and we suspect cross-contamination with their use of pesticides.”
Following this, the organisation revised their strategy by introducing a satellite tool to monitor farms and preserve organic production. This tool is in the form of a mobile application (shown in the above image), called AGROS. An audit earlier in 2023 restored their organic certification and they are confident their cocoa will meet the certification standards going forward, thanks to this new technology. They are confident their cocoa will meet the certification standards going forward, thanks to this new technology.