Elpido joined the Noradino Cooperative to support him and other local farmers to produce white cocoa.
For the farmers of Puerta Pulache, Peru, economic development has come through agricultural innovation, thanks to 26-year-old Elpido Aguilar, and his partnership with the Norandino cooperative. Elpido learned of a new variety of cacao that could thrive in local conditions and yield high value as an export crop – white cacao.
Highly treasured by food and confectionary enthusiasts, white cacao appeared gold in Elpido’s eyes. I realized that my community had a treasure, and we were not taking advantage of it, Elpido explained. Turning the idea into reality was a challenge, Elpido explained. The people in my town did not believe in my project. There was resistance to change . . . [So] I knocked on the door of the Norandino cooperative. The Norandino cooperative worked in the production and exportation of white cacao. Elpido shared this vision for his community and asked for Norandino’s support.
Norandino welcomed Elpido and Puerta Pulache residents to their cooperative, offering access to seeds, technical agricultural support, and market access by including their production in Norandino’s marketing chain. At first, it was not easy. In Puerta Pulache’s first year of white cacao production, they produced only 60 kilos of white cacao. But persistence and continuing support paid off. Now seven years later, Elpido’s town is trading 70 tons annually (!) and production continues to rise. With white cacao and the cooperative’s support, many of us have managed to get out of extreme poverty. For me, it is a great pride to have achieved this, Elpido reflected.