CECOVASA | Equal Exchange
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Co-op Name: Central de Cooperativas Agrarias Cafetaleras de los Valles de Sandia Ltda
Location: Tambopata & Inambari Valleys, Puno, Peru
Number of producers: 2500
Founded: 1970
Certified: Organic, Fair Trade, SPP
Varietals: Catimor, Caturra, Typica, Catuai
Altitude: 1200-2200 meters above sea level
Website: http://www.cecovasa.com.pe/web/Portada/
Interesting Fact: CECOVASA (The Organization of Agrarian Coffee Cooperatives of the Sandia Valleys), was founded in 1970, when a group of Peruvian coffee farmers in the Lake Titicaca region came together to avoid selling their beans to exploitative middlemen, and instead process and export their beans collectively. CECOVASA now includes ten coffee co-operative communities that are comprised of mostly Aymara and Quechua indigenous peoples near the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park and the Tambopata-Candamo Nature Reserve. These communities are very remote, 10 to 15 hours by truck from Juliaca, the nearest city. The Bahuaja-Sonene National Park and Tambopata-Candamo Reserve are incredibly biodiverse places and are under threat from illicit crops such as coca, expansion of mining projects, and population growth. CECOVASA has partnered over the years with international environmental non-profits to work with municipal governments on environmental planning in the face of these pressures. Back in 2013, Equal Exchange published a short documentary series about CECOVASA, the region, and the biospheres.

A little bit of history: The members of CECOVASA are Quechua and Aymara from the high plains region around Lake Titicaca in the state of Puno in Southern Peru. The region has nutrient poor soils and is heavily impacted by the El Niño phenomenon. This is a major cause of the migration that happened in Southern Peru during the 1930s when many residents of the Peruvian high plains migrated to lower altitudes in the border area with Bolivia and began working on coffee plantations across the border. In the following decades, Peruvians who went to work in coffee in Bolivia began migrating back to their home country and brought coffee plants back with them.

CECOVASA’s members live primarily in two valleys; Tambopata and Inambari. The majority of farmer members in the Tambopata valley are Aymara while the majority of members in the Inambari valley are Quechua. The member producers average farm size is two hectares. One-third of the farmers have land in the buffer zone of the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park.

You can find CECOVASA's coffee beans in: