La Prosperidad de Chirinos, also known as “Chirinos” has recently joined the Atlas supply chain and we feel fortunate to be working closely with this dedicated and motivated group. Situated in the San Ignacio Province at 1800 meters, Chirinos shares its name with the community it inhabits. Our relationship officially began in 2015 with the purchase of a container and several single producer micro-lots as well as an experimental double fermented lot. Although Chirinos is larger than many of the cooperatives we work with in Peru, they are certainly the most quality focused. They have made tremendous investments in their lab and quality control training program, both for employees and for producer members.
Founded in 1968, Chirinos is currently comprised of 728 producer members and some pioneer members can still be seen helping out around the cooperative. Chirinos exports around 60 containers per year – 75% of which is FTO Certified and approximately 20% is women produced coffee. For the past several years, Chirinos has been working hard to highlight exemplary micro-lots from dedicated members. Located anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours away from the community, most producers have around 4-5 hectares of land. The vast majority of this coffee comes from high altitudes, giving it great complexity and sought after acidity. During our stay, we had the opportunity to visit four cooperative members. One of the most fascinating features of this cooperative is their dedication to their members’ well-being through the diversification of their lands. Past and current projects include:
Sheep: Each producer receives two sheep. When they reproduce, the offspring are passed on to new producers, joining the coop.
Guinea Pigs: Farmers are sold 1 male guinea pig and 6 female guinea pigs, and are trained on how to raise them. Guinea Pigs, known as “cuy” are consumed regularly as a source of protein.
Trout: Over 40 producers have been trained to farm trout, and have their own man-made fresh water trout ponds on their land. Fish are raised without the use of antibiotics, chemicals or synthetic products. Several farmers have over 1,000 trout.
Pigs: In the coming months, Chirinos will be implementing a pig pen at their cooperative. They hope to start with around 30 pigs, and train cooperative members how to raise and rear pigs.
Compost and Fertilizer: The cooperative began their organic compost plant in 2009, and have built a remarkable facility. They currently produce two types of fertilizer, one with (and one without) micro-organisms. Depending on which season the fertilizer is to be applied, the quantity of added micro-elements is adjusted. The organic material for the base of the fertilizer comes from the pulp of coffee cherry, and is also mixed occasionally with hay. Chirinos can produce 4,000 bags of fertilizer from May to September (the months with pulp availability).
Earlier this year, Chirinos added an additional huller and screen sorter that will be used specifically and strictly for micro-lots. This will allow for a more rapid processing of smaller lots and greater traceability. Atlas will purchase a blended bulk lot of high quality coffee from Chirinos, along with four single producer micro-lot offerings to arrive in January ’17.