Last week, UEBT was in Cajamarca, Peru to visit UEBT-member Villa Andina as part of a project to improve benefit sharing practices of UEBT members. The aim of the project is to increase awareness of benefit sharing, learn more about current practices, and assess the related challenges that UEBT members experience.
Villa Andina is a small Peruvian company whose main activity is the export of the edible fruit of Physalis peruviana, a plant native to the Peruvian Andes, locally known as “Aguaymanto” or “Tomatillo.” Villa Andina established and works with a network of over 200 producers in rural areas around Cajamarca, providing them with productive and technical support (through NGO partner CEDEPAS) to grow organically certified Physalis.
Benefit sharing practices
The assessment of Villa Andina’s benefit sharing practices focused on the elements of the Ethical BioTrade standard, particularly issues such as equitable prices, other monetary and non-monetary benefits for local development and negotiations based on dialogue and trust.
During the visit, UEBT interviewed Villa Andina staff and local partners, as well as holding two consultations with producer groups to determine what they think about working with Villa Andina and how it was affected their daily lives. In addition, two training sessions on fair and equitable benefit sharing were organized, one for Villa Andina’s staff and another for one of the largest producer associations, located in Cumbico. Based on these activities, UEBT will be preparing a report detailing its findings and providing recommendations for Villa Andina to take forth in the context of its work plan as a member of UEBT.
Initial findings include the existence of solid practices of information sharing and discussion, as well as prices that have been established to cover sustainable production and provide a living wage. There are also significant benefits at the local level, including employment, increased capacities and long-term supply relationships.