Chirinos is a long-standing cooperative in Peru, having been established in 1968 by 36 coffee producers aspiring to sell high-quality coffee to international specialty markets. The group formed following enactments of pro-cooperative policies passed by the Peruvian government aimed at improving socio-economic conditions in Peru’s historically overlooked northwestern communities.
This took a turn in the 1990s, with administrative changes and the implementation of “pro-big-business” laws which made it difficult for cooperatives like Chirinos to compete. Nevertheless, through solidarity and a firm belief in their collective vision, Chirinos has weathered change and uncertainty throughout the decades, speaking to both the quality of their coffee and their ability to adapt and innovate. But the group’s solidarity and collective vision motivated members to reorganize for strength. Under new leadership, the organization focused its efforts on sustainable agriculture as a way to improve coffee quality and secure better prices.
Chirinos' coffee is hand-picked by co-op members and their families. Each producer group relies on an experienced agronomist who provides technical support in organic production and quality control. Chirinos uses strictly organic compost which they make themselves using a unique composting system called "gaicashi." The method produces potent, high-quality compost at a low cost and avoids the use of pesticides by controlling pests naturally; their development of this system is an example of the innovative thinking that has allowed Chirinos to thrive.