Herminio Romero Ramirez is a coffee producer from the village of las Pirias in Chirinos. He has two hectares of land planted with coffee, 1.5 of which is mundo novo and caturra. The farm is close to the village centre and is at 1800masl. Herminio picks and processes all of his own coffee and dries it on tarpaulin inside a small wooden shed he built to dry coffee. Herminio is one of a number of producers in Las Pirias that are young and dynamic and trying to make a future in the coffee industry for them and their yound family. He has an eye for detail and this year has put a lot of effort into picking only the ripest cherries and slowly drying his coffee so that it maintains its characteristics. After years of low prices and not seeing any reward for the effort he has put into the farm, he was very close to giving up coffee production altogether, but now he is already investing his quality premiums in his farm so he can improve quality and production.
Chirinos is a district in the province of San Ignacio and is one of the most well known areas for quality coffee in Peru. Chirinos is well connected to nearby cities, with new roads and a thriving town, which serves as a hub for coffee buying and trade. Whilst the coffee landscape in Chirinos is still dominated by middlemen and FTO certifications, there is a growing interest in specialty coffee and some of the biggest cooperatives in the area have been promoting quality for a number of years. However, for those producers that aren’t members of coops, of which there are many, there is still little access to market and little support to invest in their farms and improve quality.
There are a number of villages across Chirinos which have ideal growing conditions for coffee, with altitudes above 1700masl, and many producers still have old pure Arabica varieties. We see huge potential for quality improvement in Chirinos, with small changes and investments producers can escape low market prices which rarely cover the cost of production and find a market for their coffee that pays well above the market with quality incentives.