STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 4, Number 2

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50 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 2, 2015 (April/May) By Anne-Marie Hardie CHICLAYO, Peru Peru's fourth largest city merges mystique with history, beautiful architecture and business, and crashing waves of lush greenery. Beautiful terrain surrounds the city of Ciclayo which is located 10 miles from the Pacific. Northwestern Peru is a center for rice, sugar cane, cotton and of course, coffee. It is here that Lili Lyva, 36, a coffee smallholder and current president of Aspro la Floridas, in the Cajamarca region, calls home. Born on a small coffee farm, Lyva has first-hand experience of the struggles of life as a coffee farmer. Despite living near the city, Lyva's family was isolated with no access to education or opportunities for prog- ress. Her father was the sole source of income, in an industry that was challenging at best. There is no minimal price or clear standards for coffee which is sold into a free, open market. Her father, at times, returned with little or no income for the family. "Coffee was mainly a man's activity. Most of the family income generated from the sale of coffee, was spent outside of the home," explains Lyva. "My family, myself and four siblings struggled, there was no access to education, health issues and not enough money to eat." Her story is common. Smallholders in this region, with little no access to medical care, struggle to remain healthy. Education is a luxury, with little opportu- nity for improvement and community growth. Overall, the communities are isolated and insecure, often confronting food scarcity with limited support. Lyva's entrepreneurial nature and spirit refused to accept that this was all life had to offer. She knew that something had to change to sustain the family. As a girl she listened to her father and observed his work on the farm, while pondering how to make things better. Her opportunity arrived in 1999 when her father was approached to join ASPRO La Florida. This organization sought to bring the needs of the coffee farmers together; creating a united front to improve the livelihood of all. Lyva's father believed strongly in the cause and was named president. Instead of staying home, Lyva decided to join her father at meetings, despite the fact that having a female involved in coffee was fairly rare. She listened and watched how small changes made a big impact in the world of several small holders. Smallholder Lili Lyva How the spirit of one women changed a community Lili Lyva celebrates her 36th birthday.

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