Angel Salinas Dominguez has been a farmer with Norandino in Peru for 10 years.
We met Angel on our most recent trip to Peru in Chililique, a small community where the most common form of transportation is a donkey. From the first meeting, Angel radiated energy and excitement as he shared about their farmer association. Angel started the group in 2008 out of his house after he saw some cocoa production in a neighboring community. At the time, everyone grew avocado and rice and they weren’t making a reliable income. People were curious about cacao but still nervous, and initially, only 7 people showed up. Today, there are 46 members of the organization and they just finished constructing a new centralized processing facility. They’re now consistently selling 30 tons a year.
Being organized gave us access to training in crop management and in working together to manage our own business but also to manage our own community. We know that the only way to be able to sell at better prices is to produce quality and work together.
People joined the organization because they believe it “helps everyone through training, cooperation, fair trade projects, and steady income.” Farmers here have diverse farm systems and grow cocoa, mango, oranges, avocados, and beans. This diversity allows them to increase their incomes and food security while hedging the risk of one crop doing poorly. Diverse farms are also better for the environment.
Angel says he is grateful for the “assured market and a price above the market from selling our cocoa to Theo Chocolate. Thanks to them we have been able to build and improve our processing center to one that guarantees quality cocoa.”