On November 10, 2018, 14 Canadians set out for Peru, to visit producers of coffee, cocoa, sugar cane, and bananas. Thanks in part to the funds raised during the Fair Trade Bake Sale in September 2017, we selected two students—one from McGill and one from University of Ottawa—to join us in Peru.
The trip provided an incredible opportunity to learn about agriculture, yields, pricing, premium use, processing, packing, export, and development. As our global economy shifts and our supply chains grow longer, these trips are invaluable. Furthermore, as we shift towards creating greater solidarity between the North and South, it’s important that we approach development, trade, and business through a lens of partnership and mutual benefit.
Nov 10 – We flew into Lima, Peru’s capital.
Nov 11 – After a couple of hours of sleep, we were back in the air, heading to Piura.
Nov 12 – We visited Norandino, a second-tier co-op of 29 smaller co-ops and associations. Norandino’s facility receives dried coffee, processed panela, and fermented and dried cocoa beans. Presently, Norandino is exporting market-ready panela and is in the process of building a cocoa processing plant, which will enable them to export cocoa liquor. We overnighted in Piura.
Nov 13 – We visited a small, emerging cocoa co-op. We toured the fields and talked to farmers about growing, fermenting, drying, and exporting cocoa. We enjoyed a late lunch before heading into the mountains to Montero. We overnighted in Montero.
Nov 14 – We travelled higher into the mountains from Montero to visit coffee farmers. They explained what it takes to grow and export coffee and shared an evening meal with us. The local school kids performed dances for the event; we ate, laughed, and danced. We overnighted in Montero.
Nov 15 – We visited a small panela co-op, a group of 20 farmers who have been processing panela for just three years. We walked through the growing, processing, and export process, and then shared a meal with the co-op. From there, we drove back down into Piura.
Nov 16 – We spent our final day with APPBOSA, a banana co-op of over 500 members exporting over 20 containers of bananas each week. We learned about the co-op’s history, visited the farms and walked through the processing centres. We shared a meal with a few of the farmers and then travelled north to Máncora and the beach.
Nov 17 – We enjoyed a day unwinding on the beach, before returning to Piura, where we caught an evening flight back to Lima.
Nov 18 – While most of us flew home, some stayed in Peru to visit Cusco and Machu Pichu.