Shade Coffee Evaluation Workshop in Peru

March 1, 2011 by Robert Rice

Google map showing workshop location in NW Peru

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center staff geographer Robert Rice held a training workshop in northern Peru in January, 2011. From January 9-13, he was in the coffee region 2 hours outside the city of Piura, in the town of Canchaque. The workshop was arranged by the staff of Bio Latina, a Peru-based certification agency that has been working with the Bird Friendly® program for a number of years.

As with previous workshops, the participants represented a mix of interested parties. Seven of those in attendance were active organic inspectors wanting to learn about how to inspect shade for the Bird Friendly® coffee program. Other workshop members came mainly from the production areas of northern Peru, and represented 7 different organizations.

One day of the workshop was split between the theoretical, classroom-based aspects of the Bird Friendly® standards and a visit to nearby coffee farms to do a practice run through the field methods used to measure the various shade components. Another day was spent in the field doing a practicum—a full-blown evaluation as would occur during an actual inspection.

Pictured from left to right: workshop participant in the field; irrigation channel; "semi-girdled" tree, this causes the tree to drop its leaves, letting in more light for the coffee plants, but does not kill the tree

Small groups of 4 or 5 participants spent most of a morning collecting data and filling out inspection sheets. The afternoon was then devoted to presenting the results of the practicum and discussing whatever issues arose that needed clarification.

The region has a relatively long history of coffee production, which is interesting, considering that the rainfall in about one-third of the area is so scant (about 1200-1300 mm per year) that producers rely on irrigation to get a harvest each year. An intricate small channel network for water distribution and an organized system for water use by producers has allowed for production for several generations.

One of the main organizations working with cooperatives in northern Peru is Cepicafé, headquartered in Piura and working with more than 5,500 producers. Several Cepicafé staff were present for the workshop activities. Aside from coffee, Cepicafe also works with growers to get a brown sugar product known as "panela" to market in Europe and Canada.

And a marmalade factory is underway to take advantage of a value-added strategy based on the fruits derived from the shade trees in the coffee holdings—a wise scheme that seeks to diversify the products coming from the coffee agroforests managed by small producers.

The enthusiastic participation on the part of the workshop attendees speaks to the interest and eventual incorporation of more producers in Peru's northern region into the Bird Friendly® coffee program.

Workshop participants
Mario Enrique Rivero
Carlos Cruz ChantaAPPAGROP
Reynaldo Chapilliquen AbadBIO LATINA
James Astuhuamán SernaBIO LATINA
Mayra Aguilar ZapataBIO LATINA
Marleny Torres NuñezBIO LATINA
Jessica Priego FloresBIO LATINA
Fernando Alejandro Reynoso ArenasBIO /
José Lito Garcia ChumpitaziBIO
Aristóteles Neira TorresBIO LATINA/
Isaias Marin DuranCAC ORO
Jimy Ramirez ArmijosCAS EL
Nery Antonio Pinedo MoriCAS EL
Teodomiro Melendres
Sabino Guerrero
Gilmar Castillo
Césil Hoyos PérezCOMERCIO &
Reiles Zapata RamosCOMERCIO &
Felix Suarez EliasONG
Efren Edilberto Troncos RenteriaONG
Paola Silva CunyarachiONG
Francisco Correa QuirolaPAITITI CLOUD