Alianza Cacao Peru, Tingo Maria

July 25, 2018 | Adrienne, Specialization - International Development and Globalization, UNITERRA, Alianza Cacao Peru, Communication and Documentation Officer

Alianza Cacao Peru is an organization built on public-private partnerships, with businesses and cooperatives in the cacao industry. Since most of the cacao produced in Peru is produced on small farms of less than one hectare, with old trees, very low yields do not allow cocoa farming households to raise enough income to overcome extreme poverty. These low yields, inefficient intermediaries, and poor access to markets and finance, crops such as cocoa cannot compete economically with coca and other illegal activities.

With funding from USAID and DEVIDA (La Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida sin Drogas), among many other partners, Alianza Cacao Peru works to make cacao production a viable option to earn a livelihood. Their work revolves around creating direct market linkages, and access to financial assistance, and providing education of agricultural technology and an integrated agro-forestry system to improve the yields and quality cacao crops under cultivation. The organizations specific long term goals include: increased amount of hectares of land producing cacao across three regions of Peru, farmer’s incomes reaching up to $4,000 per hectare, peace and stability promoted in regions previously burdened by drug-trafficking and increased gender equality and youth engagement.

I am working in the Huánuco region, in the capital city of Tingo Maria. Here, Alianza Cacao’s efforts have been well received. In fact, organizations like Alianza Cacao and DEVIDA command a lot of respect in the region, because people want change. The regions history with the narcoterrorism group ‘The Shining Path’ is a dark one. Most people over the age of 30 have experienced horrible tragedies at the hands of the terrorists.

As an intern, I’ve been working as a documentation and communications officer on behalf of Uniterra, the Canadian organization that has facilitated my placement. For the next 2 months, my mandate is to assist with the editing of communications documents, videos, and managing the social media profiles. Aside from these duties, I am working on developing a ‘Gender Guide’ for technicians who run the educational workshops for farmers. This will serve as an outline, to give the technicians context of the challenges women in Peru face in the cacao industry, gender gaps in Peru, and good practices that can improve gender equality.

Once this is complete, I will be working on a ‘Success Stories’ project, which will require me to interview women in the cacao industry who have participated in Alianza Cacao’s trainings and improved their cacao yields, while being leaders in their respective communities. This is the part of my mandate that I am most excited about, and was one of the deciding factors in choosing this placement; I love being out in the field and interacting with people, especially those whom the organization is trying to help.

So far, things have been going well! Uniterra has given me a warm welcome, and assisted me in getting accustomed to Tingo Maria. I’ve been lucky enough to find a room above a restaurant owned by a wonderful family, who have almost taken me in as a third child. Now, I’m settling in to life at the office! I’m very grateful to have a counterpart working in communications, who has been showing me the ropes. While working in Spanish (my second language) has presented some challenges, I’ve already noticed how quickly my language skills are improving with practice. While 3 months isn’t much time, I’m looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone and making the most of this experience!”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.