Since 2008 Machu Picchu Foods, Peru’s number one exporter of cocoa derivatives has operated a Development and Sustainability Program to improve productivity and the quality of life of organic smallholder farmers that supply the company’s organic cocoa operation. Machu Picchu Foods is also an exporter of green coffee beans and a bean- to-bar chocolate manufacturer. In charge of the sustainability program is Andrea Soto, who says it delivers to cocoa farmers crop incentive premiums, capacity building and training in crop management and organic production standards, zero-interest loans, prepayment schemes for the purchase of supplies, tools and machinery sold at manufacturer prices and a tool and machinery loan system.
Before Machu Picchu arrived, farmers produced only conventional cacao. They produce certified organic cacao since 2009. “In 2012 we had 4257 active members,” Ms. Soto says, “We measure the environmental impact and sustainable development of the areas under this program through number of hectares certified, farmers who received training and those who have organic and sustainable certification; number of social activities done in the year, increases in productivity and amount of money given as a bonus per each kilogram of organic or sustainable cocoa beans.”
For 2012 Machu Picchu Foods obtained results for individual farmers in: Organic certification USDA, EU, JAS; Fair Trade certification 4C (global sustainability for coffee) and Fairtrade-FLO; and Sustainable certification: UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance; training to 4257 farmers who have on average 1 or 1 ½ acres of crop of coffee or cocoa was provided by senior professionals with extensive abilities in cocoa crop management and organic and sustainable production standards; a bonus provided in December was a repayment valued at $ 137,719 to these farmers for their sustainable and organic beans sold. “Machu Picchu Foods, as part of its corporate social responsibility activities, has created synergy with its private clients, such as the Zensho Fair Trade Business program, to develop initiatives of rural social support to family of cocoa farmers with emphasis on the education of their children,” Ms Soto explains. Over ten social activities and two community projects were executed with their strategic client Zénsho. Machu Picchu Foods provides two types of community support: Monetary contribution for each kilogram of cocoa beans, liquor, butter, cake, powder or chocolate sold. For example, for every kilogram that client ‘A’ buys, he pays $ 0.10 cents in addition for an arbitrary determined social work; and selection of one or more specific donations for an arbitrary or determined area were Machu Picchu Foods works. “In the Development and Sustainability Program, the most popular option chosen by farmers is the zero interest-free loans. At the end of 2012, Machu Picchu invested $365,570 in 781 farmers to help them achieve good production during the year. In 2012 the company provided a repayment valued in $ 137,719 to its 4257 cocoa and coffee farmers.
“Since 2008 when the program begun we helped to increase the productivity of each of our farmers by teaching them better farming methods. “We also offered them the facilities of payment for specific work or to buy implements to increment quality and quantity of production. With this work plus the annual bonus they increased their income. In addition, the social activities developed over the years allow them to access basic services, educational benefits for their children and other activities to improve their quality of life.” Machu Picchu Foods pays entirely for the organic and sustainable certification of the farmers. “The company certifies their collection centers, plants and products and teaches the farmers the environmental and agronomic regulations of the certifications,” Ms Soto says. “Our technicians offer practical training, and on site visits to supervise the correct application of organic farming methods.
“The Development and Sustainability Program has helped Machu Picchu Foods increase production and improve the quality of organic and sustainable beans.