Can cacao and coffee exporters in Peru cope with climate change?
The study aimed at analyzing the level of awareness, vulnerability and capacity to adapt of agro importers to climate change impacts in Peru, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The study was focused on coffee and cocoa export, studying the perceptions, experiences and attitudes of rural SMEs regarding climate variability and its effect on their business operations and overall competitiveness. Further, it looked at the strategies used by SMEs and their suppliers to address climate change and their capacities for investing in mitigation and adaptation.
Key findings of the project include:
- Coffee and cocoa are two of the most important Peruvian agro-export products, acknowledged worldwide. Peru is already a major exporter of certified coffee and cocoa, and the international demand is growing. Certifications (such as Organic and Fair Trade) offer opportunities to SMEs, e.g. good agricultural practices and larger income. However, in 2012 and 2013, coffee went through a critical moment due to the fall of international prices and the rust plague (which proliferated partly due to the higher humidity, warmth and irregular rainfall in coffee-producing areas).
- The main challenge identified by SMEs to exporting is price volatility. Climate change was also mentioned as one of the sector challenges, but it was considered less significant. On the other hand, the networks developed among farmers or cooperatives’ partners are considered the main enabling factor for agro-exports.
- SMEs adaptation responses to climate change are very limited (in part due to the lack of resources), isolated and respond to the immediate situation. The public sector’s support is perceived by SMEs as marginal and ultimately consists of handing out a “care-package” those farmers whose land has been significantly affected by rust.
- The study concludes with a series of recommendations, including the need to strengthen the main institutions of the sector so that they can support their members, as well as the need to integrate and disseminate successful experiences and best practices related to climate change adaptation.