Towards sustainable agriculture in Peru

Field trip to the Acopargo cooperative.

Specific policy development should ensure sustainability in the country's agricultural commodity production systems.

With the support from the International Climate Initiative (IKI), national and local governments and diverse stakeholders in agricultural commodity production in Peru are engaged in policy development as part of the programme ‘Linking no deforestation supply chains and national climate mitigation initiatives’.

Supporting the multi-stakeholder policy process

The IKI project has supported the Peruvian Ministry of Environment in the collection of technical information, such as on forest emissions, with a goal to make agricultural commodity production systems sustainable. It has been essential to include all key actors in the process, to ensure the policy supports Peru’s strategic ambition, whilst also reflecting the reality on the ground. Policy development needs to include public sector, private sector and civil society. Indigenous Peoples and local communities are critical stakeholders in a country where around 80% of Peru’s more than 32 million inhabitants self-identify as either indigenous or mestizo (mixed) (Minority Rights). 

The IKI implanting organisation Proforest is working with the many actors involved in Peru to strengthen national policies, such as the recently approved National Plan for Cocoa and Chocolate (Supreme Decree No. 017-2022-MIDAGRI), and the technical group for development of a national strategy for the National Palm Oil Instrument. They have also started to work with the National Plan for Livestock Development with a regional benchmarking exercise to identify the best practices for sustainable breeding in seven areas. 

Equally important as the policy work is the strategic alignment to national commitments, including Peru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and economic development and growth. 

Building capacity for all stakeholders at every level 

The implementation of each of these policies requires broad-based capacity building including all stakeholders.

The main stakeholders stem from key agricultural products vital to Peru, which include: 

  • Peru is the world’s 9th largest cocoa producer, (largest organic cocoa producer, first organic exporter to the EU) exporting 60-70% of product.
  • Peru produces less than 1% of global palm oil but it is an important crop for smallholder farmers (30% of national production goes to the EU).
  • Peru has an opportunity to increase its place in global livestock supply chains as global demand for products is set to increase by 70% by 2050 to feed a growing population.

With this in mind, the IKI project is providing capacity building for producers within cocoa, palm oil and livestock in key tools and approaches such as HCV/HCS, traceability and agricultural best practices. For specific commodities, they can provide training in certification schemes such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). 

All of these commodity supply chains impact small producers. For example, more than 50% of cattle are reared in farms of less than 5 hectares (CDP / SDPE). Ensuring these important actors are aware of new policy and the impact it will have on their livelihoods is a critical step. 

The project has also been holding capacity building training events for national government workers. As much as all actors have different knowledge baselines, the process can establish a foundation of knowledge that can be immediately implemented, a platform to share learning and increase the impact scale.

By the end of 2023, the project expects to launch a training course for the technical advisors of smallholder associations, who support smallholders in the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certification process, forming part of the framework defined by RSPO. In association with Solidaridad, Earthworm and the Tropical Forest Alliance the project will also implement a training programme for capacity building at field level.

Knowledge sharing among stakeholders 

Knowledge sharing has also been formalised across different commodity supply chains. One example that the project is involved in is the Lima Forums, focused on palm oil and beef. This enables different actors within supply chains to see where sustainability practices and ideas can be applied across commodities, and where successful experiences can provide momentum for progress in other areas.

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