The importance of cocoa and its key role in combating deforestation in San Martin

PERU-Hub will support cacao producers to improve their production and marketing. Source: El País

San Martin is one of the main regions where cacao beans are grown, considered one of the crops with the highest export demand in Peru. Only 80% of national production is concentrated in the regions of: Cusco, Amazonas, Piura, Ayacucho, Junin and San Martin.

The main demand for this tropical grain has been acquiring over time greater importance in the local and international market, for its high content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, which have made it one of the best natural products to treat heart pain, brain and lower cholesterol levels.

However, not all is good news because, according to the “Periodismo Ambiental Independiente en Latinoamérica” portal (Independent Environmental Journalism in Latin America), Peru reached the highest deforestation figure of the last 20 years in 2020, with a figure that exceeds 200 thousand hectares, a fact that has generated great concern for the loss of biodiversity and constant degradation of the soil that serves the production of this important crop in the Amazon.

With these alarming figures that are increasing every year, the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, together with the United States Agency for International Development (#USAID) and other prestigious national and international institutions, decided to join forces to address this problem in the #SanMartin region.

This initiative, called Peruvian Extension and Research Utilization (PERU-Hub), aims to integrate the entrepreneurs and women of the Huallaga Valley into value chains, strengthening their capacities through sustainable crop production and management that preserves natural resources such as water, soil, and biodiversity.

In this regard, the director of USAID Peru, Jene Thomas, mentioned that chocolate (from cocoa) may have a high potential to recover the various affected areas of the region.

The director also explained that the country has all the necessary tools to take care of its ecosystems in a sustainable way with crops in the area. “Peru has the possibility to be a leader in the region in sustainable production, starting with cocoa, coffee and other products,” he concluded.