Sunday, October 25, 2009

Alternative Fertilizer Plant Created by Coffee Farmers' Co-op

Name: Alternative Fertilizer Plant Created by Coffee Farmers’ Co-op

Location: Cajamarca, Peru

Years: August 2009-present

Funded by: the Green Mountain Coffee

Founded by: Coffee Co-op, “La Prosperidad de Chirinos”

Leader of the Co-op: Lenin Tocto

Other collaborators: Edgar Blandon

A co-op of coffee farmers joined together to create a central fertilizing plant in Cajamarca, Peru. The co-op is called “La Prosperidad de Chirinos,” and the leader is a man named Lenin Tocto. Lenin was highly influenced by another man named Edgar Blandon, who manages the Corpoagro Co-op in Tolima, Columbia. Blandon’s cooperative had already created a very similar fertilizing plant, called the Gaicashi Plant, also located in Tolima, Columbia. These two men met at a Let’s Talk Coffee event in 2008, and discussed the idea of a cooperative fertilizing plant. After this discussion, Lenin decided to create a fertilizing plant for his own cooperative, based on Blandon’s model. He asked for and received funding from the Green Mountain Coffee company, and he asked a group called Sustainable Harvest as well as Blandon himself to help implement the project. This plant collects waste products from local coffee, rice, and cattle farms in the area. Then, the fertilizing plant uses select microorganisms to break down the waste, making the process much faster and more efficient than the worm-composting practiced by individual farmers. Therefore, this natural fertilizer is cheaper than conventional chemical products, and more farmers are able to afford it. Plus, once the co-op members have gotten all of the fertilizer they need for their own farms, they can sell the rest to a wider local audience and earn a bit of extra profit.

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