Members – 6600 producers organized in 90 cooperatives
Location – Piura, Peru
Established – 1995
Coffee varieties – Caturra, tipica
Diversification – sugar cane, cacao, fruit trees, ecotourism, jam
Sol y Café (known before as CEPICAFE), La Central Piurana de Cafetaleros, is a secondary level non profit organization that organizes coffee, sugar, fruit, and cacao producers in the northern region of Peru. Total of 7000 producers are organized in nearly 400 organizations, and Sol y Café offers a variety of services and support to the farmers organized within the region, 19% of which are women. Aside from organizing base level cooperatives,Sol y Café also offers workshops and training for its members on such topics as productive technology, responsible use of natural resources, organization, and business management.
Sol y Café first became organized in 1995 with 400 producers and received their FLO certification in 1997 to address a number of issues such as low quality of coffee, limited access to markets, predatory intermediaries, the weakening of cooperatives, and possibilities that existed within niche markets. Now, as the 19th largest exporter in Peru, Sol y Café sells nearly $10 million worth of coffee per year to a number of different exporters both in Europe as well as the United States.
Not singly focused on coffee, Sol y Café has worked to continue to support its members in their efforts to diversify their products in order to bring a higher quality product to the market alongside improved incomes. Based on their development and continued success, Sol y Café has proven to be a leader in the northern region of Peru as a result of their innovation in processing and adding value to a variety of products including coffee, cacao, fruits, and sugar cane. Furthermore, efforts to develop a brand (Norandino) for all of the products produced by its members are underway as a means of promoting the work of small farmers throughout Peru. Aside from diversifying in the variety of agricultural products, Sol y Café has also developed an alternative tourism project to promote the experience of small farmers in northern Peru as well as a carbon capturing program in many of the organized communities.
Through the consolidation of producer organizations under the Sol y Café umbrella, producers are now active and respected agents for sustainable development in their region. They have worked collectively to improve quality and overall production under certified organic practices, and they have increased their exports from 550 quintales in 1997 to 39,373 quintales into a range of specialty markets over the past 10 years. Farmers also enjoy access to financing and to development projects.