The El Oso project was established between DRWakefield and the Cooperativa Agraria Frontera San Ignacio (COOPAFSI) with two main aims.
Firstly, we wanted to help improve economic sustainability within the cooperative, creating consistent high-scoring organic micro-lots that taste great and bring extra premiums to cooperative members. We currently achieve this across our range of El Oso, La Osa, Tapir Andino Red, Yellow and Anaerobic Honey, microlots that disrupt the idea that organic coffee can’t be delicious. So if you have yet to become familiar with these unique coffees, check them out. They are delicious.
Our secondary goal was to contribute to the environmental sustainability of the region. Much of the coffee grown by COOPAFSI producers is in the buffer zones of protected natural areas in Northern Peru. Plants and animals, like the Spectacled Bear and Tapir Andino, are threatened in these regions, so we established the El Oso fund, which is 5 c/lb of the FOB price paid to the cooperative for the above coffees, supports the conservation and protection of natural ecosystems while helping improve producer engagement and livelihoods.
These initiatives stem from COOPAFSI’s mission to “develop competitive, sustainable agriculture with a sense of belonging and entrepreneurial capacity”. The El Oso fund currently focuses on protecting the Santuario Nacional Tabaconas Namballe (Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary) and supporting the producers who grow coffee there.
COOPAFSI uses the El Oso fund in partnership with SERNANP (National Service of Protected Natural Areas), the government body which looks after Protected Natural Areas in Peru. The fund is spent on activities contributing to the conservation of natural areas, such as promoting sustainable agricultural production systems, training and workshops, and capacity building that guarantees food security for coffee producers.
In 2020, El Oso premiums totalled $1,901.50 and funded project staffing, water preservation for coffee production and wildlife monitoring in the Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary.
In 2021, we raised $3118 for El Oso. Last year, this money was directed towards assistance and training to help introduce native forest species, technical management of coffee cultivation, and financial support for SERNANP.
COOPAFSI conducted group workshops led by professional trainers to collectivise producer members through sustainable ecosystem management training. Using the natural environment as a starting point, producers were encouraged to share their individual experiences living within the Natural Sanctuary and its challenges. Producers then discussed potential solutions to individual and shared challenges as a group, before linking ideas to a real-life setting. Finally, the learning process is completed with the return to practice, putting the knowledge acquired through the workshop process into play. This workshop style makes it possible for producers to build knowledge based on the capacity and opportunity of the community, reflected in a group through their own experiences.
One of the communities directly involved in the project was the El Sauce (the Willow) committee, a collective of producers located within the boundaries of Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary in the province of San Ignacio. El Sauce was provided with over two thousand native tree seedlings, such as Eucalipto Salinas and Eucalipto Deglupta, planted in the sanctuary’s border zones. These seedlings help diversify the ecosystem, expanding the natural habitat for local wildlife and the sanctuary’s 186 species of birds. Four technical training workshops supplemented the tree planting scheme, giving producer members knowledge and technical assistance in forest species management and sustainable coffee cultivation.
Alongside the community outreach and training work done by COOPAFSI, the 2021 El Oso funds also continued supporting SERNANP’s work in monitoring animals in the sanctuary. Wildlife monitors, or trap cameras, were installed throughout the refuge to observe local wildlife, enabling SERNANP to record and understand the populations of local endangered species.
It’s wonderful to see the El Oso project grow year after year. With the help of roasters across the UK and EU, we’re continually able to increase the environmental sustainability of the Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary, and the economic security of the producers within it.
You can explore the coffees attached to this project below. If you’d like further information on El Oso or order a sample, get in touch with the trade team.
Our thanks to Luzmila Loayza Feliú from Cooperativa Agraria Frontera San Ignacio, whose communication and updates from Peru have been invaluable in the development of El Oso.