Juanita’s story

Juanita is a Peruvian coffee farmer. Together with her husband, two sons and daughter she is part of an Indian community in the rainforest of central Peru.

Just like her fellow villagers, Juanita is forced to support herself. Coffee is her most important source of income. For many years Juanita, too, has been growing coffee crops together with her family on their fourhectare plot of land. It’s difficult for the family to subsist on the three euros a day she manages to scrape together. The harvest is poor and middlemen pay Juanita far too little. Her coffee is of mediocre to poor quality, which means export is out of the question. Juanita decides to set up a coffee cooperative together with 150 other farmers. In this way she gains access to expertise, credit and new sales markets. Rabobank Foundation finances the establishment of the cooperative and puts up the capital for skills training and financing the harvest training and workshops, Juanita learns more about working the land and harvesting techniques. The quality of her coffee crop improves. The cooperative buys up her crop for a fair price and sells it on the international market. Juanita now harvests just over 70 sacks of coffee annually, which generates an income of some €1700. And it’s not just her income that increases: together with the other farmers she’s also started a nursery for coffee plants. She uses the additional income to invest in her business and her family. In short, Juanita is reaping the benefits of the cooperative model.