Co-op Name: ACOPAGRO
Number of Producers: 1,800
Average Farm Size: 2 hectares
Source for: Non single-origin Chocolate Bars and Minis, Chocolate Chips, Dark Hot Chocolate
Last visit: Chocolate Products Manager Dary Goodrich, USAID Grant Manager Cristina Liberati, and Grant Contractor Julia Baumgartner visited Peru in April 2017. They led a capitalization exchange with co-ops from around Peru in the capital of Lima. Afterwards, they visited the co-operative’s collection centers and several cacao producer farms.
Interesting Fact: ACOPAGRO was one of the first grant partners that Equal Exchange started working with on the USAID Co-operative Development Program (CDP) back in 2010, in collaboration with implementing partner, TCHO.
Full Profile: Initially funded by the United Nation’s program to promote cacao cultivation as an alternative to growing coca leaves, ACOPAGRO is now an established exporter of quality cacao. The co-op, based in the San Martin region, has grown from 27 members in 1997 to close to 2,000 members today, and is now the largest cacao exporter in Peru. In July 2012, ACOPAGRO won first place in the national quality competition, Concurso Nacional de Cacao, in Lima. The co-op has diversified into other products and services like a reforestation and carbon capture program and credit service for members. With Fair Trade premiums, ACOPAGRO has invested in a new office and warehouse facility, equipment and quality trainings for members, vehicles for staff, and social programs such as basic food production and access to medical services like dental and eye care.
Through the CDP grant, ACOPAGRO has focused on developing flavor quality. In 2014, Quality control manager for ACOPAGRO, José David Contreras Monjarás visited Equal Exchange alongside our other Peruvian partner, Oro Verde to share cooperative models, meet store accounts, and plan for the grant. ACOPAGRO designed a CDP project to collect the data they needed, to analyze it, and to develop the recipes that would allow them to optimize quality and deliver consistently great cacao to their buyers. Seeing real value in what they have learned, they have now trained all of their processing managers in these protocols and they have even made the Best Practices for Cacao Processing available for download on their website. The coop has also taken model fermentation and drying infrastructure created through the CDP program and built over 30 replicas on their own. When the CDP project started, ACOPAGRO received no premiums for quality for their cacao. In 2012, they received a total of $1,800, and in 2014, quality premiums totaled more than $54,000.
If you would like to learn more about this partner, please read their Partner Profile (PDF).