Born from the dry river valleys in Piura, Northern Peru, the Ultra Rare Piura Porcelana white cacao was nearly extinct when our Bean Team discovered it in 2007. The dry, drought-ravaged forests where the Piura grows are home to the most important and threatened bird habitats in the world; 17 different bird species are endangered in the Piura region alone. The coastal desert is also home to one of the most diverse butterfly collection’s in the world. The region has suffered from deforestation as a result of irresponsible agriculture in the past decades and the affected local rainfall patterns. During the rainy season, the rivers now overflow, making it impossible for vehicles to cross and contributing to the chronic malnourishment of the people of Piura.
In 2007, Original Beans discovered this ultra-rare white cacao in the Piura river valley of Northern Peru. Due to its lively fruit flavours, it has become one of the best-awarded beans worldwide.
The locals of Piura say that only one albino survived the migration of cacao, from the Amazonas through the Andes until the dry coastal area: the Piura Porcelana. Although genetically an Arriba Nacional, the albino cacao tastes completely different: light, fruity and with pleasant acidity.
The rare discovery and subsequent replanting of the nearly extinct white Piura Porcelana allows us to pay substantial incentives for sustainable cacao farming with high payouts per hectare. We encourage local smallholder farms in the region to shift from unsustainable and unprofitable monoculture rice cultivation to diverse cacao-agroforestry systems, which has tripled their net incomes. Due to our ongoing reforestation efforts, the Piura Porcelana has grown back from near extinction to become a sustainable and profitable production. By planting diverse cacao groves, the landscape is covered with new trees that regulate the rainfall patterns.
On the ground, we:
- Identify and select genetically strong Piura Porcelana cacao trees
- Establish nurseries
- Support the conversion of 200 hectares of arid degraded land to diverse cacao-agroforestry systems with a high water-holding and soil-enrichment capacity
- Support the establishment of irrigation systems that capture and store limited seasonal rainfall from the Andes mountains
- Support the protection of 2.800 hectares of dry forest