Is The Aroma Fading?
One of the Piura Andes' most significant crops is experiencing a continous falling.
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A coffee plantation in Eliseo Córdova
Portocarrero's property in Maray Town, Lalaquiz District, Peru. His
crop is promoted internationally by Progreso NGO, formerly known as Pidecafé.
Photo by Mary Grace Cunya / Progreso.
CANCHAQUE, Peru - The bus that goes up to Huancabamba
City still stops in Palambla to have lunch if climbs up or santa Rosa
if goes down, and during the minutes awaiting for the doors of the
vehicle to get open again, there is still some time to walk around and
to see some stuff the locals offer on sale to the travelers.
and chirimoyas, what follows to pay the attention are those sealed bags
with a milled very black brown grain, those are still possible to
approach to the nose for detecting part of the aroma - coffee.
144 km or 89,1 miles away to the Wesst, in Castilla,
Piura Metro Area, it is also possible to find some places on Tacna
Street where the toasted and milled grain is sold informally. Some
people send it in packages to their relatives in Lima City, where the
hot beverage is appreciated around the year, but especially in cold and
wet winter season.
The mostly cropped variety in Piura, as well as in most of the Occidental Hemisphere, is the Arabic coffee (Coffea arabica), coming from Ethiopia and Yemen (Arabic Peninsula), where is supposed it was domesticated 20 centuries ago.
could be a part of a nostalgic advertising campaign blanches
before the fact that Canchaque's coffee production has decreased
running the years.
even the grain
in its organic variety means 4/5 parts of Canchaque [pronounce
"Kanchahkeh] District (which surface is 306,41 sq km or 190,4 sq mi or a
little more than 1% of Piura Region territory) agricultural
offer, the production had fallen 75% in 2014compared
to 3000-4000 tons gotten between 1970 and 1990.
The falling trend seems to affect to all countries producing coffee for exportation,and causes also seem to be similar.
Region's social development manager Ángel García Zavalú said three
years ago to the media that the incorrect agronomic management
and climate change were the causes of the decrease but not
In fact, it
seems the coffee farmers did not react on time before the variations
of the weather, what broke out yellow rust, and cock eye plague in less proportion, El Regional de Piura reported.
The yellow rust,
the major cause of decreasing to 75% of Canchaque's coffee
production, is a disease consistent in a yellow or orange blot
injuring the mature leaves of the plants, removing them down, what
mainly appear when average temmperature is 17°C or 63°F
during periods of continous rains. It can be prevented treating
the terrain before the cropping, but that step was apparently ignored.
Although beginning this century Turmalina Mine,
located 1000 meters or 3280 feet above Canchaque Town in Huando Mount,
was seen suspiciously, its tailings don't appear neither remotely as
the cause of the decrease.
What about drinking a cup of coffee at Mr Leigh in Piura City? Many clients here don't suspect the situation of the grain just a hundred miles away.
Photo by César Leigh/Leigh Perú.
The first among the last
Until June 2016,
Piura Region had the worst performance in coffee production, -22,1%,
followed by ucayali (Peruvian Central Eastern) with -11,4% and
Pasco (Peruvian Central) with -5%, according to Peru's National
Institute for Statistics and Informatic (INEI as in Spanish) revealed
in August last year.
production was increased in San Martín [Peruvian Central
Northern] (56,4%), Junín [Peruvian Central] (16,0%), and Cajamarca
[Peruvian Central Northwestern] Regions (9,2%), which contributed 67,2%
to this grain's total production," INEI reported.
exposed that Peruvian production of coffee grew up from 64298 tons in
June 2015 to 75555 tons in June 2016, 17,5% in green in other words,
"due to favorable weather in Northern Jungle that allowed the good development of the crop."
origin in the Middle East, the main producers of coffee variety, that
Peru also produces, are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Honduras. Brazil
is the second world consumer below the U.S. and above the Nordic
However, or at
least until 2009, Peru led the coffee world production targeted
specifically to fair trade market, and organic coffee to be more
accurate. It is estimated that one among five coffee consumers in
England prefers what comes from fair trade.
coffee, especially the organic, also has the U.S. as its main
market followed by Europe, although consumers are spotted mainly in
Based upon those
results, Piura's Coffee Farmers Center (Cepicafé as in Spanish)
reinforced in 2009 an organic products' offer led by coffee as a
response to the crisis and recession blaming the U.S.,
Europe and Japan. Cepicafé joins 90 local grassroot organizations
and 6600 farmers.
organization's co-manager Santiago Paz López, its buyers are in Europe,
Oceania, Canada and the U.S. (where is required by Equal Exchange):
"They're selective clients, that means they don't buy to any other
exporter even if it's about a farmers organization signing for fair
The paradoxical of the scheme is Cepicafé depends on how the grain performs at New York Stock Exchange, and numbers also could seem to be in red.
marking US$ 170 per every 100 pounds as a peak, it
fell until US$ 110 in 2009. The low price accepted by coffee sales
firms, Cepicafé included, is US$ 125 plus a US$ 10 premium
for regular varieties and a US$ 20 additional in case of organic
varieties. Below US$ 135 or US$ 155 according to the variety, there's
Although sugarcane is winning land, it's still possible to find
a very tasty coffee in Montero District, Peru, coming from a plantation
Photo by Comunicaciones Piura.
Local competitors and alternatives
But if it goes losing, how much convenient is it for satisfying the market? In Lalaquiz
[pronounce "Lalakees"] District, Canchaque's western neighbor,
decided not to feel sorry and working to avoid the mistakes of Region's
referent. CAES crops Arabic coffee at 1100 meters or 3608
feet altitude, beneath shadow and inside an agri-forest model.
As a reference, Canchaque District's average altitude is 1135 meters or 3723 feet.
in the world because of its organoleptic characteristics of fine and
delicate aroma, flavor and good consistence, proper like highland
coffees," they assure on their website promising 95% is Arabic
variety and rust-proof too.
work of nurseries and crop lots renovation, it is being
studied the adaptation of improved varieties for increasing
our production capability," they add.
In Ayabaca Province, Jililí [pronounce "Heelilee"] and Montero
Districts also produce coffee. In fact, they had together about 10 sq
km or 6,2 sq mi of plantations, although they recently decided to
bet more of sugarcane, despite their leaders said to Radio Cutivalú that the coffee is much profittable.
It is still
unknown if Canchaque's coffee could stop its falling because all will
depend on farmers reaction. At the moment, Piura regional
Government only had the political decision to recognize the district as
the grain's regional capital in 2012 by the 239 Regional Order. The
rest? It also seems that will depend on the consumer.
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