In Peru, the bulk of production comes from small farms owned and managed by indigenous people who follow organic farm management practice attuned to their cultural connection with the land. Producers typically cultivate coffee on just a few acres of land intercropped with shade trees, bananas, corn, and beans. They carefully harvest and sort cherries before depulping, fermenting, washing, and drying the coffee using their own micro-mills. Simultaneously, cooperatives carry out activities that often go unnoticed but are crucial for small producers. These cooperatives are often divided into smaller locally run organizations, larger regional organizations, and even larger umbrella organizations. The local cooperatives focus on training producers in best organic practices and invest in basic infrastructure needs like road improvements and establishing local warehouses. The regional cooperatives focus on creating micro-credit for producers and investing in social programs on a larger and more impactful scale, using the collective resources generated from the sale of coffee. Environmental training programs, healthcare initiatives, life insurance, and educational opportunities are just some of the ways these cooperatives strive to improve the quality of life for coffee producers and their families.
Cooperativa de Servicios Multiples Sol y Café Ltda (Sol y Café) is a regional cooperative that works directly with 58 local organizations and more than 1000 producer-members in the provinces of Jaén and San Ignacio in the department of Cajamarca, Peru. Sol y Café provides producers with financing, training, and technical assistance to improve coffee quality. The cooperative has also established a centralized coffee nursery to support farm renovation initiatives. As a way to diversify income, Sol y Café supports producers who also cultivate rice and cacao. Sol y Café collaborates with Cooperativa Agrícola de Servicios Múltiples Norandino (Norandino), an umbrella cooperative that prepares coffee for export and ensures traceability and quality control throughout the post-harvest process. Norandino boasts one of the most state-of-the-art dry mill operations in Northern Peru along with a fully staffed and SCA certified cupping lab equipped to cup through thousands of samples and identify the potential for every coffee that is received. The cupping lab also serves as a training facility for the entire region and a place to take the Q certification exam.