Peru Highlight, April 2024

Peru Highlight, April 2024


When it comes to coffee production, South America has a slew of heavy hitting countries. For this month’s origin highlight, we are focusing on Peru, the third largest country in South America. Peru is located on the pacific side of the continent and is home to beaches, deserts, the Amazon rainforest, and the second highest mountain range in the world, the Andes.  The varied ecosystems in Peru make the country habitable to a megadiverse group of plants and animals. In fact, Peru has over 25,000 plant species, around 10% of the globes total, one of which is arabica coffee.

Coffee was first introduced in Peru in the mid-18th century by way of its neighboring country, Ecuador. Although the production of coffee began in the 1700’s, exportation did not begin until the 1800’s and production was not considered significant until well into the 1900’s. Like many other coffee producing countries, Peru was initially characterized by coffee farming on large plots of land which were controlled by European settlers. While this style of coffee farming was dominant for many years, the coffee farming demographic gradually started to change as Peruvians from other regions began to move to coffee producing areas and started to develop their own small coffee farms. The small-holder farmer became the norm in the 1950’s and 60’s as the Peruvian government engaged in land reforms and used incentives to encourage coffee production. Today this trend of small-holder coffee farming has remained true, with the majority of the 223,000 coffee farmers in Peru farming on 3 hectares or less.

Coffee farming in Peru largely takes place in the north of the country in Cajamarca where over 50% of the coffee is produced, although there is also coffee production in Cusco and Junín. The impact of coffee in Peru cannot be understated. Coffee is the country's main agricultural commodity and makes up around 25% of the national agricultural income. Beyond those who own and operate their own coffee farms in Peru, the coffee industry also supports more than 300,000 Peruvians in some way.

At Westrock Coffee Company, we have seen the great work that small-holder coffee Peruvian farmers do and have partnered with 339 farmers through Raíz Sustainability™ and another 1,792 farmers through Farmer Direct Verified® (FDV). One such FDV farmer is Yessica Yanet Rimache Chavez who came into coffee farming determined to cultivate coffee in a way that protects and restores her land. Yessica and her family plant shade trees and produce their own organic fertilizer to avoid polluting their land, while also hoping to inspire their neighbors to adopt similar practices. At Westrock Coffee Company we are proud to purchase coffee from producers like Yessica who serve as stewards of their farms and local environments.

When drinking Peruvian coffee like Yessica’s our in-house flavor experts notice earthy and herbal qualities with stone fruit overtones.

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