The Chirinos cooperative was established in 1968 by 36 coffee producers aspiring to sell high-quality coffee to international specialty markets. The group formed as a result of the federal government’s pro-cooperative policies aimed at improving socio-economic conditions in Peru’s northwestern communities, which were historically overlooked by the state. In the 1990s, with a change in administration and the implementation of “pro-big-business” laws, cooperatives like Chirinos suffered. 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, specifically in organic production and quality control. Members use only organic fertilizers made from composting, worm bins, and guano. In fact, Chirinos uses an innovative system, developed by Colombian Edgar Blandon, for drying and mixing organic material to create potent natural compost. This composting system is called “gaicashi” and represents some of the best thinking in compost management worldwide. Plagues and pests are controlled naturally, avoiding the use of pesticides or herbicides.