Cecovasa is a coffee cooperative in Southern Peru with 350 members. Like coffee farmers all over the world they only harvest their coffee once a year and so it’s essential they find alternative ways to provide income on the farm during the rest of the year.
In 2011 Cecovasa designed a project to turn sugarcane growing on their members’ farms into homemade unprocessed sugar that the farmers could sell in local markets. Sugarcane grows all around the region, but is rarely treated as a potential ‘cash crop’ – more often as a weed.
Cecovasa, using PPP funds from CPF, ran a set of training modules for 135 farmers throughout 2011 to train them in all aspects of producing artisan sugar – from growing and harvesting the sugarcane, to processing of the finished ‘panela’, as it’s known in Peru, by hand.
Farmers were also taught how to market the product at local levels, and maintain and repair the basic equipment needed in the production, to make sure the project would be sustainable in the longer term.
The participating farmers recently made their first sales of finished sugar in a local produce market fair. Enthused by their success, the pilot demonstrated to the farmers what can be done, even with limited resources. The farmers are keen to remain involved and excited for the potential of project in the future.