Topic of the event: the extraordinary effort made by Peru to encourage the replacement of the coca fields, of which the country is a leading producer worldwide, with the cocoa plantation. A strong commitment pursued by Peruvian institutions together with local cooperatives of farmers, and whose success is guaranteed also by the continuous support of responsible managers and customers, such as ICAM and lately Otto Chocolates.
This is the experience brought in Expo by the cooperative Acopagro and the Italian chocolate company ICAM. In Peru, the good practices in agriculture have been able to fight the drug trade and in some virtuous reality, where previously people cultivated coca, now you can find farmers cultivating cocoa, which is now exported maintaining economic advantages for producers.
Acopagro exports mainly to Italy, where it met ICAM - "Today the economic performance of the cocoa cultivation competes with what comes from the cultivation of coca - said the President of ICAM, Angelo Agostoni - This is the extraordinary turning point. Today there are any economic reasons to return to cultivate coca. The production chain goes beyond the borders of Peru and continues in companies like ours, to consumers. "
Icam imports from Peru 5000 tons of cocoa a year by various cooperatives. 3,500 of which are organic and Fairtrade cocoa.
"We have been cooperated with Acopagro since six years, we have shared our know-how, we have supported the improvement of the product’s quality. The purchase of the cocoa product by Icam has become very important to allow the consolidation and the growth of the cooperative ".
According to Unodoc data, the ONU Office for the fight against Drugs and Crime, in 2014 the area in Peru where coca was cultivated decreased by the 14% compared to 2013. This is the result of the commitment of Peruvian cooperatives such as Acopagro that brings together 2,000 farmers and is now in seventh place among the top 10 exporters of cocoa in Peru. "We started about 20 years ago, when it seemed impossible to talk with farmers about replacing coca with cocoa - said the commercial director of Acopagro, Gonzalo Rios - Now we are one of the main producers of organic cocoa in the country. We offer a product that has an international market and, above all, the farmers live better, they use the most innovative agricultural technologies and they have access to the micro-credit, a key tool to convert the cultivations. We were also able to set up awards for the quality of their cocoa and grants for their children.".