CAPEMA is a coffee cooperative that was founded in 2006 and incorporates over 150 members from 6 local communities that operate near the Alto Mayo Protection forest. CAPEMA has exported green coffee to international buyers in specialty markets since 2009 and operates under FairTrade and Organic Standards.
CAPEMA was founded in 2006 by 90 producers, but has since grown to incorporate over 150 members and is still attempting to take in more. Members come together from 6 different local communities around the Alto Mayo Protected Area in order to consolidate their products to achieve better market conditions. Prior to 2009 CAPEMA only operated in local markets, however it was able to access external financing in that year to export coffee internationally to specialty markets.
CAPEMA harvests approximately 380 hectares of FairTrade and Organic coffee. The cooperative offers a variety of services to its members. The organization serves to manage the control system for FLO and Organic certifications as well as to coordinate and pay for the audit processes and certificates. Current and potential associates are provided with technical support and organizational training to help facilitate more efficient and profitable production processes. Other services include a system of quality control and traceability, access to trade finance, and access to individual finance through local entities.
In 2010 VV provided working capital to CAPEMA in order to help finance harvest expenses, helping to counter one of the biggest risks to the young organization.
CAPEMA is located in the Alto Mayo Protected Area of northern Peru. After cattle ranching, coffee production provides the biggest potential threat as well as opportunity to conservation efforts. The watershed of the forest harbors many threatened plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth and forms part of the Abiseo-Condor-Kutuku Conservation Corridor. Runoff from the Alto Mayo forests gives rise to several major rivers which ultimately flow through the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin and provide a source of clean water for local communities and agricultural production. The certifications held help to eliminate negative effects of agricultural practices such as soil erosion, agrochemical use, and poor watershed and agroforestry management.
Associates’ families depend on coffee production and commercialization through CAPEMA. They also produce some other crops for their own food security. This is a business with an important social base, where the main objectives are to support technical and commercial development of the associated producers. The Alto Mayo River secures subsistence fisheries for indigenous populations, representing up to 42% of their protein intake. In the future, the financial sustainability of more than 8000 downstream families and about 35000 regional inhabitants will depend on economic alternatives to protect the forest.