Small Changes for a Better Future - Part 1
Posted by James Astuhuaman on 18 February 2016
MEETING DON CLEMENTE & DONA SIMONA ON THEIR PERUVIAN COFFEE PARCELA
It took us just a few minutes walking between mountains up a narrow pathway from the village to reach Don Clemente and Dona Simona’s 7 hectare farm or parcela. The rain has stopped and the sun slowly rises over the small town of Yanamayo. We are in the district of San Juan del Oro, in southeastern Peru, close to the Bolivian border. The sweet smell of coffee blossom indicates that we have arrived. Don Clemente and Doña Simona are there to welcome us at the entrance.
Most of the land is covered by native bushes and trees, with 3 hectares dedicated to producing organic coffee. They invite us to enter their home to rest: it is a small house made of wood with a tin roof. It is a cozy space, with just the two of them living there. From the window, we can see the parcela with banana, avocado and orange trees intercropped with coffee.
As the sky clears and the clouds lift, Don Clemente, begins to tell us about why he has come to dedicate his life to coffee:
‘I am a migrant from the Andes, I came with my family to the small town of Yanamayo in 1969 and then I started farming in these lands thanks to government support which gave land ownership to smallholders. In the beginning, I grew coca, but then I changed to coffee, because coca is a complicated crop and always gave us troubles. I have cultivated coffee for a long time with my own hands; there wasn’t any technical support at that time so I just grew it traditionally. That was a lot of work for all my land. I couldn't manage the farm properly so I left and I started working as carpenter and welder in the nearby town. After some time I decide to go back to work at the farm, because I missed the coffee. It was then that I heard about the Cooperative and so I became a member of San Juan del Oro. Since I have been registered at the cooperative I have kept working hard and participated in projects to improve my farm. I also start receiving technical assistance and that helped me a lot to be a better farmer.’
Twin Associate, James Astuhhuaman, recently visited Don Clemente’s farm to learn about his experience as part of the project and the impact it has had on his farm. Find out more in parts two and three of his report, to follow in coming weeks.