Visit to Peru

Visit to Peru

Blog
10 Sep 2019

From August 7 to 14, our colleague Marcel Spaas went to Peru with the aim of meeting the people of our collaboration partner Norandino, visiting the Sierra Piura reforestation project and gaining ideas about how we can expand our collaboration. “I came back very enthusiastic.”

A warm welcome

August 7: we – the team from the Peeze coffee roasting company and I – are picked up from the hotel in Piura by Santiago Paz – the commercial director of Norandino. Piura is a city with half a million inhabitants in the north of Peru. We are warmly welcomed. Santiago is a warm person and happy to meet us. The cooperative’s office is functional and old-fashioned. No fuss. We are warmly welcomed at the office by Fernando – the financial director – with coffee, of course. Coffee is the main product that Norandino farmers produce. Norandino has approximately 6,000 members who, together with their families, produce coffee, cocoa and panela (= cane sugar).

fcf meet up
fcf people

Visit to the coffee farmers

After listening to presentations for two hours, we know the ins and outs when it comes to the cooperative. Despite the bizarrely low coffee price (between 2 and 2.60 euros per kilo), the farmers of Norandino can still just survive. For comparison, the Fairtrade organic minimum price is 3.15 euros per kilo (3.00 + 0.15 Fairtrade premium). Fortunately, the cooperative’s turnover is increasing, because Norandino has a large network and supplies directly to large coffee roasters that do not go for the lowest price, but opt ​​for a long-term relationship so that quality and volume can be guaranteed. A day later during a meeting of coffee farmers, the only question the farmers asked us was: “Give us a better price.” You want us to produce sustainably – but we cannot invest if you do not want to pay for our products. We want our children to be able to go to school, have good food to eat and we want to be able to produce a beautiful product.”

Coffee, Cocoa and Panela

In the afternoon we visit the Norandino factory on the other side of Piura. A coffee processing factory, a cocoa processing factory, a panela processing factory, a packaging factory and a warehouse are located on 2 hectares of land, surrounded by a high wall. The entire process of emptying the bales of green coffee, which are sieved in eight different ways to be stored as pure as possible per ‘grade’ in 60 kilo bags. And yes, those bags are carried on the shoulders of the Peruvian employees! So work really hard.

fcf visit to peru

After processing in the factory, “cupping” follows. Samples of the coffee are taken every day. This is roasted and coffee is made from it. All this according to prescribed rules. The colour, taste and quality are tested here by a professional team. We participate and discuss what we think is the best coffee.

Norandino is truly a ‘cooperativa’ of and for the farmers with an inspiring board and management team, who do everything they can to improve the financial situation of the farmers.

Reforestation project

In the evening I meet Rianne van der Bom. Rianne lived in Peru for 9 years and therefore speaks fluent Spanish. She knows the project inside and out. She works for Progreso, our collaboration partner in the Netherlands, which initiated the Sierra Piura reforestation project together with Norandino in 2009. By reforesting the areas in the ‘upper catchment’ of the production area of ​​Norandino farmers, the water storage capacity is increased so that not all the water is immediately washed away when it rains. This ultimately benefits agricultural production in lower-lying areas.

fcf nature
fair cliamte fund

The reforestation provides work for the mountain farmers who run the nursery and plant the saplings – approximately 1,100 per hectare and for next year 100 hectares or 110,000 trees. After 7 and 12 years, thinning takes place and the lower branches are pruned to give the trees room to grow further and to increase the quality of the wood. In addition, reforestation provides carbon credits, of which 10% of the proceeds are spent on improving production of coffee farmers and the rest for scaling up the reforestation project.

Visit to the nursery

The next morning we leave Piura together with Santiago, Sabino (responsible for the project) and Maira (the project manager-to-be) to Las Lomas / Palo Blanco at 3000m. The aim is to visit three areas where there are trees of different ages. After a 5-hour drive, interrupted by a typical Peruvian breakfast of pork, rice, beans and a fried egg for the vegetarian, we arrive at the nursery. Palo Blanco was only opened up 5 years ago because a main road was created. Until then it was only accessible on foot or with a donkey.

More than 100,000 trees are grown on the plantation and transplanted into plastic bags with soil. These trees are planted in the field in January. Almost the entire village is present, such as women, children, men: everyone does some of the work in the nursery. It’s a lot of fun.

fcf

In the remaining days we have a good conversation with Progreso Piura about their cookstove project and we visit a number of banana plantations where Agrofair sources its bananas – with the aim of seeing how that sector can be made more sustainable.

It was an inspiring journey and I was able to meet beautiful passionate people. I am very positive about the proactive attitude of the Norandino team and look forward to working together on further reforestation. In addition, we have agreed to start the Fairtrade Climate Academy – a training program for farmers in the field of climate adaptation and mitigation – in Peru in 2020.

Marcel Spaas

This was a summary of Marcel’s visit to our reforestation project in Peru. Curious about the whole story? Read it here: Peru

FairClimateFund always takes the CO₂ footprint of its trips into account as much as possible. We visit our projects a maximum of once a year to discuss progress with our local partners. We always compensate our (project) trips with our Fairtrade Carbon Credits.