Established in 1997 as part of a UN project, the ACOPAGRO cooperative is based in the Peruvian Amazonia. Since 1992, it has worked successfully to eradicate coca farming from what was a war-torn region and introduce cocoa plantations instead. Drugs and violence are now a thing of the past, in a region now dominated by cocoa-based agroforestry systems.
Chocolats Halba obtains its cocoa from just one specific valley within the cooperative: the Alto Huayabamba. The cocoa farmers of the Alto Huayabamba Valley live in immediate proximity to the original Amazon rainforest. To protect the remaining rainforest from deforestation, Pur Projet joined forces with ACOPAGRO and other local partners to launch the Martin Sagrado REDD project. Overall, this project will enable some 317,000 hectares of tropical primary rainforest to be rescued. River boat is the only means of access into a valley whose unique microclimate lends the native cocoa its fruity sour personality.
Reforestation and CO2 compensation
In partnership with Pur Projet, the ACOPAGRO cooperative launched a reforestation project in 2008 incorporating native hardwood trees. By 2014, some two million hardwood trees have been planted in and around the region's cocoa plantations. Each new tree was pinpointed via GPS, subsequently enabling them to be identified on Google Earth.
These plantings will help to save 700,000 tonnes of CO2. The cooperative had the project certified under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) defined in the Kyoto Protocol, and sells the "locked-up" CO2 on the international emissions trading market. Chocolats Halba uses the project to offset CO2 emissions for its carbon-neutral products. Thanks to this new venture, local farmers can now benefit from a fresh source of income, while promoting biodiversity and the regeneration of their soils.