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  • Writer's pictureJon Ferguson

Why do producers want to be co-owners of a coffee processing plant in Jaén-Peru? A producer’s perspe

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

This week, we would like to share the point of view of the Cooperativa Agraria Ecologica Cafetalera de Lonya Grande (CECAFE).

CECAFE has 843 associated small-producers and 3,774 hectares of coffee in production in the Lonya Grande district in the Amazon region of northern Peru. This organization was founded in 2006. At that time, the lack of availability of technical assistance for producers resulted in very low coffee yields, with average productivity of 6-10 qq/ha at most. Agriculture was a very precarious activity in the area.

Over the years and with much work by its team, CECAFE was able to become the largest cooperative of the ElevaFinca alliance and has been able to export more than 100 containers per season. This week, we have the opportunity to hear from José Elmer Sánchez Olivos, General Manager of CECAFE.


General Manager at CECAFE, specialist in Organic and FairTrade certification, passionate of coffee and kayaking and a coffee producer of second-generation himself.

"Hello, on behalf of the CECAFE Cooperative, I want to send you my warmest greetings. We are very proud to be one of the first organizations to participate in ECOTIERRA and CAFÉ SELVA NORTE sustainability projects, which we are very pleased to see prosper after many years of work. Let's talk about why building a mill within the alliance is important for a cooperative like CECAFE. The process of transformation of parchment coffee to gold coffee is one of the most critical points within the supply chain of coffee. An inadequate process can ruin, at the time of export, all the efforts invested in the field by producers. The main risks are delays in export and potential degradation of coffee quality.

Here are some important points to consider for producers in the area of Jaen:

Coffee processing services are really scarce: Jaén is one of the main coffee production and export zones in Peru. From my experience, I can say that there is not enough local capacity of milling services to satisfy the existing demand. Most of the processing plants are controlled by private companies that limit their processing quotas. As a result, it is really difficult to secure space within a mill during the high season for organizations like ours, causing delays in shipments to our customers. The Café Selva Norte Mill (CSN) will be co-owned by the member cooperatives and I am confident that this will make a difference to help improve shipping schedules.

Little control by the cooperatives within this service: Most of the coffee processing plants are located in the coastal areas of Peru, near the ports of export, when the production zone is mainly in the mountains, which makes it difficult to move the raw material, increasing costs (due to the transport of husks) and the difficulty of sending trained personnel to supervise our processes.

In our case as CECAFE, each point of performance in the conversion of parchment coffee to exportable coffee counts. Having our own and reliable plant close to the production zone will guarantee us to give our clients the peace of mind that our coffee will arrive in the agreed-upon form and on time.

This has been a great challenge for us. We are happy to be part of the Café Selva Norte Alliance, which expresses, in an international way, the union that can exist between cooperatives and private investment that has its main objective to promote the cultivation of coffee and to achieve sustainability in all its aspects.

Thank you for your attention. We know it has been a very difficult year, but we hope things will improve soon. A big hug from Lonya Grande - Amazonas.

Best regards,

Jose Elmer Sanchez Olivos''.

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