Peru is a Non-GM country, with a strong belief in organic crops – there is little spare cash for manufactured pesticides.
The most common cash crops grown here are corn or coca which is sold and made into cocaine. Due to the income that a farmer can receive for this, there is some resistance to farm sacha inchi so farmers need to be given incentives to do so.
Lack of education is also an issue here, with less than 20% of pupils finishing high school.
One way to encourage farmers to grow sacha inchi is a scheme that our producer follows whereby they grade farmers (from A to D), with grade A showing longevity and loyalty to the producer. The producer will then invest in those farmers of grade A and B, providing investment in machinery, equipment and education in sustainable crop growing. This way both parties benefit – the producer gets loyalty from the farmer and the farmer receives an income and the means to learn further.
This all makes for a unique personal relationship between our producer and the farmers. This is quite different from, for example, those farmers growing coffee, where the companies that the farmers deal with are larger corporations and the buyer and farmer generally never meet face to face.
Sacha inchi is a good crop to grow because it:
- Helps local communities by replacing coca (for cocaine)
- provides an income and reduces the desire for cattle grazing, which is one of the main causes of deforestation in the rainforest
- provides monies for food, education, schooling
- replaces lost income from traditional sources which have disappeared through poor soil quality. Sacha inchi thrives in poor soil
- Due to the lack of education of the majority of the population in this region, our producer works systematically and slowly to help change this. Progress is slow and is challenging. They focus on one area at a time. At the moment, focus has been on San Martin and this will be moved further south in time.
- The producer has already set up a scheme where they’ve collected various books for basic education and given these to families. This is an ongoing project.
- The producer works with Swiss and Dutch Governments to create teaching programmes re planting crops, conservation and sustainability.
About Lucy Bee
Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin.