Today more than 1,000 families participate in the organization and actively cultivate just over 3,300 ha of coffee, mango, limes and other fruits, together with crops such as beans peas, bananas, asparagus and more. The coffee farmers also care for approximately 50,000 ha of (mainly endangered) Amazon rainforest.
Our fruit farms are located west from the Andes in an area of dry tropical forest and have Demeter certification. About 100 people work here, including their families they form a community of 600 people. We create our own high quality aerated compost to feed the soil. Several herds of goats provide the manure to go into the compost. Additionaly the native acacia trees provide nitrogen to soil by fixating nitrogen from the air in their roots. These trees have very deep roots and can survive without rainfall for 9 years! We have to keep the goats away from the young trees so they can grow high enough, so the goats can't reach the top leaves anymore. We have our own doctor on each farm to provide medical care to our employees and we also have schooling projects. Some years ago we also started two processing plants to make juices and pulp with the fruit or freeze them as IQF; in this way we create more security and financial stability for everybody involved.
The coffee is a different kind of cultivation. The average plot size of coffee farms is usually between 2 and 5 ha, depending on the number of family members. They are located in remote areas in the northern highlands of Peru. Some of them are farmed by recently established migrant families from the higher, impoverished Andean regions, others by local people, and some by small groups of descendants of Aguaruna and Huambisa (the original native people of this Amazon region) who are slowly but progressively integrated - socially as well as economically. The majority of the plots are in the Altomayo region, on both banks of the Mayo river, and on the eastern slopes of the mighty Marañón at an altitude of 1300 to 2000 m above sea level. These rivers wind their way through the fertile, high lying rain forest of the upper reaches of the Amazon basin in Peru, famous for its biodiversity. However, due to the fragility of these fertile soils they need to be protected from heavy rains to prevent them from eroding.
Therefore each family receives assistance to improve their agricultural practices and learn about agro-ecological concepts to preserve the delicate balance of this eco-system. The continuous presence of agronomists specialized in agro-ecology, sociologists and technicians, all of them dedicated to developing sustainable agro-ecosystems, are helping to introduce new concepts of efficiency, product quality and environmental responsibility in the area.
The families are individually responsible to cultivate their land, but have agreed to follow organic principles which comply with the regulation of various European and U.S. certifiers, such as Bio-Suisse, Naturland, USDA-NOP. An internal control organization is responsible to ensure that their standards are fulfilled and that the necessary certification requirements are adhered to.
ProNatur has succeeded in improving and assuring incomes to its members and their communities through efficient and transparent methods of production and marketing.