Peruvian Cocoa: Among the Best in the World

May 29, 2021

Visit the Peru Pavilion at Stand J24 at Naturally Good this year and learn more about this powerful and nutritious superfood.

Peru is the centre of origin for cocoa, which is native to the Amazon and has the greatest genetic biodiversity in the world. Our Amazon is home to 6 of the 10 genetic varieties of cacao in existence, demonstrating the diversity and potential that Peruvian cocoa has to offer.  The main reason for this is that Peru meets most of the special climate and land conditions required for cocoa beans to grow as it is rich in microclimates and diverse landscapes across its 3 main regions: Coast, Andes and Amazon offering areas of low elevations (200 – 1000masl), relative high humidity, optimal rainfall (1500 -2000mm/yr) and average temperatures of 23C – 30C.

Compared to other countries growing cocoa, in Peru harvesting takes place throughout the year in regions such as Cuzco, Cajamarca and Amazonas, although the highest production is between May and July in other regions like San Martin, Junin, Ayacucho, Piura and Huánuco.

There are currently 13 cacao producing areas, however 91% of the output is concentrated in just 7: San Martin the principal national producer followed by Junin, Ucayali and Cuzco. The country produces annually 5% of the total world’s production being its main export market the European Union representing 54% of the total volume exported, specially to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain; whereas the US itself represents 21% of cocoa beans exports.

The complexity and uniqueness of Peruvian cocoa beans are present in all the regions where they grow, from the north with the renowned “Cacao Blanco” of Piura, to the timid “Chuncho” of the south in Cuzco, presenting very different characteristics not only in the bean, but also in the flavour profiles. For example, the diversity that Chuncho cacao possesses is demonstrated through distinctive characteristics in the fruits prompting to give beautiful names like Chuncho Señorita (image below).

Furthermore, the joint work of the Peruvian government, the private sector and International organisations constant support, in the last 15 years the Peruvian cocoa sector has undergone several programs to strengthen growers’ skills, improve production and quality control. Consequently, Peru is currently positioned as the third country with the highest cocoa production in Latin America with 151,600 tons in 2020 and the second exporting country of organic cocoa and our cacao has received many international certifications like FairTrade, USDA Organic, JAS, Rainforest Alliance, among others.

All this has resulted in several awards for outstanding quality, from the world’s most prestigious competitions, where the main objective is to promote the development of cocoa producers and the companies that make fine chocolate. For example, in the American final of the International Chocolate Awards 2017, Peru won 28 gold, silver and bronze medals in various categories.

In addition, the communities that produce this superfood have benefited largely from the trade of cocoa through projects that aim to improve their quality of life and continue in the fight to replace crops for illicit use or illegal mining affecting their regions, with wonderful stories of transformation through effort, dedication and perseverance of a large number of families in the Peruvian jungle, continuing to demonstrate the potential of a privileged country in natural, diverse and multicultural resources.

Peru will be showcasing its finest cocoa beans from 10 community growers during Naturally Good Show in stand J24.

Come and visit the team at the Peru Pavilion and learn more about this powerful and nutritious superfood. 

 

 

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