The Peru Cacao Alliance project (PCA) works in the cacao value chain in the regions of Ucayali, San Martin and Huánuco in the Amazon basin. Funded by USAID, PCA worked to establish links between actors in the value chain, strengthen producer organizations, facilitate growth of cacao-producing areas, enhance cacao quality and improve postharvest handling of the cacao. PCA’s theory was that increased returns would make cacao production a more attractive alternative to illegal cocoa production. Two agricultural practices that PCA encouraged were perennial crop expansion and improved fertilizer and pesticide use.
Relationship to CSA
Farmers benefitted from increased income form perennial crop expansion as well as related benefits from the perennial crops: decreased erosion and runoff, increased organic matter in the soil, and increased retention of water and nutrients. Perennial crops also sequester carbon in soils and their biomass, thereby providing mitigation benefits.
Impact and lessons learned
PCA resulted in productivity gains: farmers in PCA were expected to harvest 1-1.5 t/ha cacao by 2021 compared to conventional cacao farmers’ average harvest of 0.6 t/ha. While increased pesticide and fertilizer usage increased in GHG emissions, the carbon sequestration resulting from perennial crop expansion more than outweighed the increased emissions. Emission intensity of cacao production decreased. Additionally mitigation co-benefits resulted from the increase in biomass and improvement of soils.