Peru Alternative Development Program

Specialty Coffee for Sustained Coca Production

In going through old documents from my 35 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development

I found a presentation I made in 2002 as part of my work as the Director of the Alternative Program in USAID Peru.  I served in that position from August 1996 until July 2002.  A key part of our mandate was to find ways to provide Peruvian farmers with alternative crops to coca production.  We saw the coffee sector in Peru as a natural market segment for our focus.  We took our first group of Peruvian coffee farmers to the annual conference of the Specialty Coffee Association of America held in New Orleans, Louisana in 1997.  Our efforts focused on improving Coffea arabica (specialty coffee) production and creating market links to upscale coffee retailers in the United States.  

Tea & Coffee Journal published an article about our program in December 2000 -- see "Impact at Origin - Specialty Coffee Takes the Lead" by Michael Ferguson: “This evolution in USAID's approach allowed a quality driven coffee project to emerge in Peru's Apurimac River Valley. Partnering with Seattle's Best Coffee Company and the nonprofit rural development organization, Winrock International, USAID funded the renovation of over 2,000 hectares of coffee land over a four-year period, making substantial improvements in both harvesting and processing practices. The positive results prompted Michael Maxey from the USAID Peru office to explore the idea of using the Peru model worldwide. While seeking potential private sector partners, those who understood, or were at least attempting to address, the interplay between quality and sustainability, Maxey found the SCAA. Suddenly, "global reach" seemed like a real possibility.”