Below is a reflection from Team Peru’s Alex about a meeting with a group of small farmers that are ecologically certified in the Calca area. AASD is also part of this group of producers and together we’re seeking better markets, as explained in this previous post about Team Peru’s work this summer. Alex is reflecting on a a meeting with this group. SGP stands for Sistema de Garantia Participativo,which is part of an international movement lead by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) called the Participatory Guarantee System.
A Reflection from Alex
Recently, we had a meeting with our SGP certified organic farming group. The purpose of the meeting was twofold; to obtain qualitative data concerning the training, concerns, and general sentiments of the farmers, and to obtain quantitative data to determine production capabilities. The meeting had its share of ups and downs. In general the obtaining of qualitative data proved much easier than that of the quantitative. I was quickly able to determine from our interview that our previous assumption that our SGP farmers were attempting unsuccessfully to compete with conventional growers may have been flawed. It seemed in fact that our grower’s market sense was keener than we had believed as they were branching out beyond produce into more niche products such as dairy and bee products, organic fertilizers and pest repellents, and specialty crops. In doing this, they were largely avoiding having to directly compete with conventionally grown table crops such as lettuce and tomatoes. This discovery, in addition to being of great academic interest, could be very useful in increasing the value proposition of our products as our farmers are able to produce a myriad of different products to potentially meet different customer needs. ~Alex