PERU – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with olam food ingredients (ofi) to make a joint investment of US$8.1 million to promote more sustainable coffee production in Peru.

The investment will fund extension services, infrastructure, certification, and training, designed to improve yields, quality, and access to premium markets for 1,000 smallholder farmers.

Ofi already works with more than 10,000 coffee smallholders in Peru through sustainability programs. And with this new investment, farmers in Peru will increase their livelihoods while also working to protect the natural environment.

Peru, the 11th country with high coffee productivity on their soil, is also the largest known exporter of organic coffee, but growth is largely uneven across the country.

Peruvian coffee is also notably distinguished from other coffees, renowned for its good acidity, unique chocolate profile, and great aroma. Peru’s different climate conditions and high altitudes have also made it possible to develop different coffee flavor profiles, Prashant Jalan, the country head at Peru ofi’s coffee platform said.

He noted that the country has a natural competitive advantage over other regions with a shorter growing season.

Despite coffee making up 25% of national agricultural income and supporting the livelihood of 223,000 producer families, inadequate access to inputs and a lack of technical and managerial capacity pose a significant production constraint, the partners elaborated.

With combined resources, the partnership aims to develop more inclusive value chains that generate opportunities for 1,000 farmers and their families in the region of Junín.

“The five-year joint investment will be split across different initiatives, with 20% distributed toward targeted extension services, and 80% directed at investments into certification and infrastructure improvement,” Jalan said.

The farmers will be trained on sustainable and organic farming, GAP (Good Agricultural Practices), quality testing, improved profitability from bookkeeping, and better farm management training.

The investment will also enable farmers access to quality and differentiated markets with post-harvest processing workshops and equipment, including solar dryers, composters, and wet mills.

In addition, improved health and well-being with medical screenings and nutritional education are set to reduce malnutrition rates and anemia in young children and pregnant women in the country.

Jalan highlighted that some of the work is already underway, such as the installation of wastewater treatment systems on 250 farms, the distribution of 150 solar dryers, and farm financial assessments conducted with 100 coffee producers.

Meanwhile, Jene Thomas, USAID Peru mission director, believes the partnership with ofi will “improve extension services and access to digital technologies for 1,000 Peruvian coffee farmers to transition from conventional production to organic production.”

By helping these farmers qualify for organic and sustainable certifications to facilitate their entry into premium markets, Thomas underscored the partnership will enable them to remain competitive despite international price volatility, thus increasing their incomes and motivating them to continue to pursue licit livelihoods.

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