With support from the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK), Kemito Ene, the cooperative representing hundreds of Asháninka cocoa producers in Peru, has just signed an agreement to export 90 tonnes of certified organic cocoa for the international market.
The agreement has been made possible in part thanks to a growing relationship with organic chocolate maker Loving Earth. “We are so excited to see the progress that Kemito Ene has made over the last year in developing and expanding their capacity to produce high quality heirloom cacao,” said Loving Earth’s Managing Director Scott Fry, following a joint meeting with Kemito Ene and RFUK. “It is such a privilege for us to work with the Asháninka to produce beautiful chocolate that ultimately provides so many positive benefits to this incredible indigenous community.”
RFUK has been working with the Asháninka since 2010 to help improve their income and living standards through the production and marketing of traditional crops. The overall goal of the partnership is for cocoa production to become a secure and stable source of income that also helps Asháninka families maintain the rainforests they call home.
“Together, we are working to improve the productivity of the cocoa plots and to grow cocoa and coffee in harmony with the forest,” reflected Kemito Ene President Claudio Vasquez.
When Kemito Ene was created, cocoa production was only at 1.5 tonnes, but that amount has significantly increased over the years thanks to the continued technical support from RFUK and our local partner in Peru, Central Asháninka del Río Ene (CARE).
Over the last two years in particular, RFUK has helped Kemito Ene to secure private loans so that they can invest in better equipment and make the most out of their harvests. For the hundreds of Asháninka farmers that make up the Kemito Ene cooperative, the recent agreement to supply 90 tonnes of cocoa will mean higher incomes and improved standards of living for them and their families.
“What the Asháninka people have achieved over just a few years is remarkable,” said Aldo Soto, RFUK’s Peru and the Andean Amazon Programme Coordinator. “Their hard work and commitment to sustainable, organic cocoa production is really starting to pay off. When we brought them a sample of the final product from the UK, you could see how proud they were to see the words ‘Asháninka’ on the box.”
**You can now buy Asháninka chocolate both online and in organic stores around the UK, Europe and Australia.