Cepicafé: quality cocoa from Peru

In Peru, smallholder farmers grow ‘criollo porcelana’, a cocoa variety with a fine and delicate flavour that has attracted the attention of famous chocolatiers. Meanwhile, this cocoa blanco has won several quality prizes.

Cepicafé is one of the farmers’ organisations that grows this variety and it has received support of the TDC to do so. First, the focus was on improving quality and obtaining organic and fair trade certification to enter the higher market segment. In 2014, the TDC extended this project to another 850 families, including 200 families from a poorer area with very bad infrastructure. The focus was on strengthening the producers’ organisation in terms of business management, industrialisation and market access.

This approach was successful, because between 2013 and 2015 the farmers produced 1,105 tonnes of cocoa (compared to 815 at the beginning of the project), 70% of which was certified organic. The farmers sold 39% more and their revenue increased by 40%. Cepicafé strengthened its business relations with 5 major importers in Europe and the US that had opted for quality cocoa and were willing to pay a premium. The organisation is now developing its own chocolate factory to process the beans into chocolate and create added value for its members. In 2015, Cepicafé entered into a joint venture for this with Dutch Chocolatemakers.