Fair Trade Producers
Despite the huge challenge that El Nino and La Nina represent to coffee farmers, Peruvian coffee has gained worldwide recognition in the Organic Coffee category in particular. Peru is, in fact, the first organic coffee producer in the world. How did they accomplish this? The lands where coffee grows have not been treated with chemical fertilizers or similar products but primarily with "guano."
For most people, the Spanish words El Nino ("little child") and La Nina ("little girl") are simple, nice and harmless words. Who would have thought they mean agricultural trouble for Peru? Rising temperatures and erratic weather patterns in Peru, associated with El Nino and La Nina have completely changed the coffee growing season in this country.
Peru offers a great deal of diversity in terms of flora, wildlife, environment, climate, language, cultural traditions and much more! It is fun stopping to review some of the fun and interesting things about this country that is dominant in the Organic Coffee category and is working hard to promote greater coffee consumption among Peruvians.
Peru borders on the north with Ecuador and Colombia, on the east with Brazil and Bolivia, on the south with Chile and on the west with the Pacific Ocean. Peru's territory includes 496,414 square miles. More than half of the Peruvian population lives on the coast. About 32% of the population lives on the Andean region of the country and the rest on the Amazonian plains. Peru is the third largest country in South America after Brazil and Argentina and ranks among the 20 largest countries in the world. The country's location in the central part of South America facilitates market access to Asia and North America. Peru is a linking bridge for consumers and sellers in South America and Southeast Asia.
Coffee has become one of Peru's main exports. Coffee from the Central Region in Peru includes two of the best known coffee growing areas, Villa Rica and La Merced. La Merced and Villa Rica coffee has a thick, creamy body typical of this region, also referred to as the Chanchamoyo area. The typical coffee acidity has a salmonberry tone but it is not as overpowering as that of the high grown Puno and Cuzco coffees.
About half of Peru's agricultural exports originate from the 805,000 acres of land devoted to coffee production. An estimated 85% of this coffee producing land is located mostly in the north of the country, a fact which gives an appreciation for how hard it is for coffee farmers in other Peruvian regions to reach large scales of production. In addition, as is typical in Peru, most of the coffee growing land belongs to small scale farmers.
Peru is the third largest South American country and the world's sixth largest coffee producer. Almost 90% of all Peruvian coffee produced is exported and it is one of Peru's major exports.
Coffee was introduced to Peru in the late 1700's. The Typica varietal of Arabica still accounts for about 35% of the country's exports. The Bourbon varietal was introduced in the 1950's. Combined, these two varietals make up about 60% of the Peruvian coffee production. Peru exports primarily newer varietals such as Caturra and Catimor.
Of all the countries in the world, Colombia is the only country with a "National Coffee Federation" that pays a subsidy to member farmers when international prices are low. This is how this organization provides social services, technical training, educational programs and infrastructure improvements in coffee growing regions. To fund this work, exports are heavily taxed when international prices are high.
The Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU) is a cooperative federation in Tanzania. KNCU is one of the oldest coffee cooperatives recorded in existence for the coffee trade. KNCU was founded in 1930 by Sir Charles Cecil Farquharson Dundas who was a district commissioner of the Moshi in Tanzania during the 1920's. The first coop members were the indigenous farmers of the Chagga tribe living on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain. Sir Charles popularized the coffee production and successfully established the cooperative concept as a means of mutual cooperation and growth.
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