Intensive agriculture has spread to the Amazon highlands, cutting down trees and destroying the habitat of endangered species such as spectacled or Andean bears, different types of monkeys, cockatoos and parrots. Agroforestry systems in cocoa and coffee can regenerate these areas and benefit producers in the region, according to Helsin Farro Torres and María Domitila Ortiz, co-workers and leaders of the APROCAM cooperative in Amazonas, Peru.
María is 42 years old. She has been working in cocoa since she was 13 and has received training on how to implement agroforestry systems from APROCAM. This included training in farm management, from pest and disease control to pruning and the use of environmentally friendly inputs. To support its members, the cooperative is also developing a nursery for cocoa, fruit, and forestry seedlings, which will be given to producers who need to renew their plantations.
From 2020 to 2022, Rikolto has been working with APROCAM cooperative, as part of the Cacao Noramazónico Sostenible Project (included in the SeCompetitivo programme facilitated by Helvetas).In the regions of San Martín, Amazonas, Piura and Tumbes, the project has reached 2,385 small cocoa producers who are members of farmer cooperatives.