San Ignacio

The region San Ignacio de Namballe

In the mountain rainforest of northern Peru lies the sparsely populated district of Namballe. The area borders directly on the neighboring country of Ecuador. Most of the people live from coffee cultivation as a family. Similar to Alsace in Europe, the border region is characterized by changing territorial claims.

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After the declarations of independence by Ecuador in 1809 and Peru in 1821, there were repeated wars over the territory. In 1941, the Second World War raged in Europe and the Pacific. But not the whole world was involved in this world war. Peru and Ecuador fought their own war over the country’s borders for a few weeks. At the end of this war, the U.S. mediated between the parties in the Treaty of Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. was looking to the countries of South America for more support for the alliance against the Axis powers. That’s when the skirmish between Peru and Ecuador interfered. Eventually, the conflict was settled and Peru was granted the disputed territories. Thus, in San Ignacio de Namballe, people who have always lived there have Ecuadorian ancestors and yet are Peruvians today.


Gallito de las Rocas

Since 2021 we have been working in the region with the cooperative Gallito de las Rocas. The cooperative was founded in 2012. All coffee farmers in Peru and Latin America remember this historic year, when coffee rust broke out massively across the continent, cutting the coffee harvest in Peru alone by about 25% of the coffee fincas compared to the previous year. As a young cooperative, the organization focuses on improving the quality of life of its members through coffee.

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Appropriate measures include certification (Organic, Fairtrade, CAFÉ PRAXIS), increasing coffee quality through technical assistance and finding suitable markets for the coffee. At an altitude of 1,500 to 1,800 meters above sea level, the farmers grow coffee of the Caturra, Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Pache and Catimor varieties. The coffee is usually fermented aerobically in sugar mucilage for 18-23 hours before being washed and dried. The convincing quality, a clear strategy and agile management have helped the cooperative to achieve considerable growth.


Ten years after its foundation, the organization today comprises 279 members with a production capacity of 30 containers of green coffee sold to Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.


The name and symbol of the cooperative is the Andean rock cock, Peru’s national bird. Fittingly, the bird lives between 1,400 and 2,500 meters above sea level – exactly where Peru’s delicious Arabica coffees grow in the humid mountain rainforest. Farmers have told us that Andean cocks usually build their nests near waterfalls. The male is bright reddish-orange, while the female is more discreet in brownish plumage. The birds are very social and rarely found alone. Usually they live in groups of 10-20 individuals.


We have also been lucky enough to see a pair. The loud cry is hard to miss, nevertheless it takes some luck to encounter the magnificent birds. It is important to protect the bird. On the one hand, wild populations are indicators of an intact ecosystem. On the other hand, they offer opportunities for income diversification through tourism.

A new partnership

With the new partnership, we are helping the young cooperative to develop further and help its members to achieve better living conditions. In an exchange with the managing director, Eldon Cruz, and the customers, we are able to coordinate the respective wishes for the relationship. By working specifically with a small, young local cooperative, we promote the diversity and competitiveness of the region.