What we do
Supporting Smallholder Farmers
Our drive is to help open market access for smallholder farmers especially in geographically isolated areas in Peru. We have found that such areas may often lack access to information or infrastructure as in many cases agencies or programs have opted for more accessible locations. Compelled to help, we focused our efforts on the farming town of Echarati in the jungle region of La Convención, Cuzco finding that it did not have the presence of cacao or coffee NGO agencies nor much access to infrastructure. Together we worked with the local municipality of Echarati to help build a sustainable platform that provided microfinancing, new techniques in cultivation and quality control, and assistance in acquisition of assets for production. While in Echarati we found that the cacao harvested is a rare native evolved variety gifted with a superb flavor. Even in the most isolated areas we can find amazing food ingredients cultivated with care by smallholder farming communities.
TO SMALLHOLDER FARMERS
Smallholder farmers are limited by funds and are often forced to concede to the politics of large cooperatives who control trade and influence in the area. As the average smallholder farmer owns two to five hectares of their land, they are often left with limited options for financing harvest yields. Usually the buyer, large cooperatives cement further control in trade as they set their own prices, loan terms and interest rates to the selling smallholder farmer.
At Cacao Juntos we are looking to disrupt the current practices of large cooperatives for a system that promotes fair value, sustainability, and community growth.
CULTIVATED WITH CARE
MEET OUR FOUNDER
Cacao Juntos was founded by Matthew Lianides, a social entrepreneur and founder of Sumaq Foods in California. Matthew held various corporate finance roles in Silicon Valley before traveling to Peru and founding Cacao Juntos. As a Peruvian descendant and feeling compelled to help Peru, Matthew partook in social projects in Peru that focused on merging technological innovation with social settings for community development. Matthew initially started with a social fashion project that supported women artisan knitters in providing fair stable jobs and focusing on the development, process of sharing new skills to ultimately help the role of women in rural villages to become more financially and socially independent.
While traveling to isolated cacao farms in the Peruvian jungle, Matthew learned firsthand the difficulties smallholders face in accessing markets to sell their harvest. In response to this need, Matthew founded Cacao Juntos to build a sustainable platform that provides microfinancing, promotes innovative techniques in cultivation and quality, and shares fair value for smallholder farmers.