At a Glance

  • Population: 32 million
  • Capital: Lima
  • Rural Population: 21.7%
  • Median Age: 29 years
  • Cocoa Production: 122,000 MT
  • Production Ranking: 8th


Image credit: Wikimedia

History of Cocoa

Cocoa (Theobroma cacao L), is an endemic species in South America whose center of origin is east of the Andes, in the region between the Caquetá, Putumayo and Napo river basins, tributaries of the Amazon river (Chessman, 1944) Taken from MO Consulting, 2008. There are several versions regarding the origins of cocoa. However, most historians agree that cocoa originated in the Amazon River basins as cocoa trees grew naturally there. This would have happened about 4,000 years ago (Motamayor, 2002).

Flavor Attributes

Peru is the country with the highest genetic biodiversity in the world, and concentrates the 60% cluster identified to date, which is checked in the wide range of different flavors that can be found in Peruvian cocoa. 

FRUIT FLAVOR, perceived with greater intensity, genealogically to citrus fruits such as lemon, tangerine, orange, and ronja. It can also be found as guava, apple, bananas. The taste is fresh fruit. This type of flavor is characteristic of cocoa from the areas of San Martin, Huánuco, Ucayali, Junin, Pasco, Tumbes. 

COCOA FLAVOR, the taste of cocoa and chocolate, sometimes as milk chocolate. This flavor is characteristic in the area of Cusco, Ayacucho, Junin, San Martin, Huanuco. 

NUTTY FLAVOR, is perceived as nuts, mani, almonds, pecans. Characteristic in the northern part of Peru, Tumbes, Piura, Cajamarca, Amazonas. 

SWEET FLAVOR, sometimes sweet as sugar, panela, in others like honey. This type of flavor can be found in the areas of Cusco, Piura, Amazonas, Cajamarca, Junin. 

FLORAL FLAVOR, fresh flowers and sometimes fresh boils, can be found in Cusco, Piura, Tumbes.

Farming Systems

In Peru, the activity of cocoa production is very important and emerging, generating 10 million day labors and a value of US$ 266 million in exports, mainly for the international market, linking more than 100 thousand families nationally. Cocoa is the second agricultural product after coffee that most population involves in the different links along the chain, generating a high social impact. Peru produces 1.7% of cocoa in the world and ranks eighth in the world and the third largest cocoa producer in Latin America after Brazil and Ecuador. In 2017 production reached 120 thousand tons. Peru is considered one of 17 quality and fine cocoa-producing countries, and sustained growth of more than 10% per year over the past decade, between 2012 and 2015 the increase was 38.5%. The cultivation of fine cocoa in Peru is approximately 40% of the national cocoa production (Common, native, etc.). Cocoa producers in Peru have between 2 to 4 hectares of cocoa, where they also have other crops such as citrus, bananas, etc.

Harvesting & Marketing

Most Peruvian cocoa occurs during the so-called big campaign, from April to July, then a small campaign is given, from October to December. Although these dates, very marked about 10 years ago, are now variable due to changes in the rainy season. 

Generally the process of benefit of cocoa is carried out in fermenters (wooden drawers type ladder or linear); time is variable but is between 05 and 08 days; the variation is given by the climate and by the variety of cocoa that benefits. Peru has various varieties of cocoa, Creoles, native or common, outsiders, Trinitarians, etc.; and it is the blend of all these that originate the characteristic flavors of Peruvian fine cocoa. Trade in cocoa in Peru is through Associations, Producer Cooperatives and Private Companies; which compete in the production areas with the prices and quality of cocoa. 

Of the total national production is 54.3% as cocoa beans with organic certification / fair and conventional trade, 28% as cocoa butter, 8.9% is exported in chocolate tablets, 5.3% as cocoa powder and nips, while the remaining 3.5% is intended for domestic consumption. In addition, Peru is the world’s second largest producer of organic cocoa (after the Dominican Republic) and the first producer of organic cocoa and fair trade. 

Contacts in Country

Mey Choy Paz
Fine Chocolate Industry Association

JR. Piura # 728
Tingo María — Rupa Rupa — Leoncio Prado

Tel: +51 962623529