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CECAFE: Coffee Producer based in Peru

CECAFE brings together 852 farmers in the Amazonas region of Peru, who believe that their coffee is a symbol of wellbeing. The co-operative produces high quality Fairtrade and organic beans, grown amidst rainforest and mountain ranges. 

Established in 2006 by a group of 80 coffee producers
from Lonya Grande, the co-operative has grown tenfold,
expanding its geographical coverage to other provinces in the Amazonas and Cajamarca region, directed by Founder and General Manager Elmer Sánchez. 

CECAFE has used Shared Interest finance for over ten years, to ensure that farmers from local communities can earn a sustainable income.

Image: Father and son Segundo Garcia (L) and Belver Garcia (R), coffee producers from the CECAFE cooperative in Lonya Grande, Peru.

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Elmer said: “The financial support provided by Shared Interest has allowed our co-operative to pay farmers on delivery of their coffee.” 

This means that farmers like Segundo and Belver Garcia (pictured) can increase production, and have the income needed to manage their land effectively, working in harmony with their surroundings. As production increases, so does the amount of Fairtrade Premium paid to the co-operative. CECAFE has dedicated this additional sum of money to community projects promoting health and wellbeing for
farmers and their families.

A member of CECAFE for 15 years, Segundo said: “Feeling the trust that Shared Interest gives us is something that motivates us a lot; especially if it comes from people whom we have a lot of respect and admiration for.”

A decade ago, Segundo’s son Belver joined the co-operative with his wife Rosita and together they run their family-owned
farm, which has been passed down through generations.

The co-operative also works closely with farmers like the Garcia family, to share soil conservation methods such as
the application of coffee pulp as compost. In their dedication to protect and preserve the landscape, they have also
established a 40-year reforestation project.

Elmer said: “We have also launched projects to strengthen the women's committee, and supporting new technology that helps the sustainability of the industry.”

However, CECAFE has also faced challenges and Elmer explained what has affected the co-operative most: “The consequences of the pandemic had a direct effect on business performance, due to the loss of production.

Achieving positive economic results has been a challenge for the entire team, including producers, managers, collaborators
and our partners.

“On the other hand, coffee exporters in Peru have had to deal with the shortage of containers to send our product abroad.
This has delayed our deliveries; we have incurred increased costs, and even had to look for alternative ports.”

Responding to Climate Change

Shared Interest Head of Lending Paul Sablich said: “Weather cycles are changing and it can lead to severe disruption. An
example is the El Niño phenomenon, a cyclical event that increases the temperature of the Pacific Ocean.”

A few years ago, the northern coast of Peru was severely affected by landslides and flooding.

“Some producer organisations lost everything and we worked alongside them, recognising the uncertainty that they faced. It
was a hugely difficult time for farmers and it has taken years to recover. We want to support businesses, communities and
people through these times of adversity to reach their full potential. After all, this is the true spirit of fair trade. And it is
this way of working together which will help farmers face new challenges, especially those related to climate change.

“It represents an increasing threat to communities in the 49 countries we work across and the rich diversity of products
we support.” 

Protecting Plants and Producers

CECAFE is also working in partnership with our charity, Shared Interest Foundation, to protect their coffee plants against the
destruction of the borer beetle. One of the most harmful pests to coffee plantations, it can attack an entire yield of berries if
no control is applied. Due to the impact of climate change, the tiny insect is thriving in warmer temperatures, which poses
increasing challenges for Peruvian farmers.

Last spring, CECAFE began to produce the Beauveria Bassiana fungus in their onsite laboratory, using local native
strains. The fungus is mixed with water before being sprayed across coffee plantations. Over 100 farmers have now used
this natural method – referred to as Biological Control - to protect their plants.

CECAFE is also producing organic compost from natural waste products including coffee peel and animal manure. The
compost is sold to farmers at the affordable rate of £8 per 50kg bag, which can be purchased through a payment plan
with the co-operative.

A year ago, the commercial cost of a 50kg bag of compost was £15 but prices have since soared to £46 per bag due to
an increase in transport costs and inflation. Elmer told us that without this compost scheme, the majority of farmers would not be able to afford organic fertiliser. This would impact significantly upon their coffee production, sales and income. 

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