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Beneficiaries of Peru Cocoa Alliance: determined to succeed

“Ever since I was a kid, I knew that all I wanted was to become a professional and make my parents proud,” said 23-year-old Aded Rosas. The first 8 years of her life were very difficult because her family used to grow coca leaf for drug production in Río Uchiza, Tocache in San Martín. She saw coca cultivation as such a regular way of work, that she learned how to harvest coca at 5 years old. By the age of 6, she already knew how to process the coca leaf in maceration pits and helped her father by selling harvested coca. However, these dangerous and illegal activities affected the safety of her family as they needed to hide from the police and from drug dealers constantly. They were living in fear and received many threats.

In 2000 they moved to Nuevo Progreso in Huánuco, where Aded’s father bought a 6-hectare plot of land. Around this time, Aded wanted to begin studying and to do so she had to walk 3 hours a day from her house to the nearest public school. With a lot of hard work and support from her parents, she finished studying when she was 15. She saw her former classmates getting married or becoming pregnant because they didn’t see any other opportunities in their community, but Aded wanted more.

I knew that if my goal was to become a professional, I needed to leave, to start working in a secure environment, and that's when I leanred about USAID's alternative development program. With all the trainings I learned to graft and to prune.

Aded received trainings from USAID’s Alternative Development Program, where she developed her technical capabilities for cocoa cultivation. At the same time, she began to study at an institute on agricultural education, where in 2013 she graduated as an Agricultural Technical Operator.

Today, Aded works with the Peru Cocoa Alliance grafting fine flavor cocoa in Nuevo Progreso. She also works in her own plot applying new agricultural techniques such as grafting, pruning and harvesting, which she is learning from the Alliance's field technicians. With this knowledge, she will install two more hectares of cocoa.

After many years of hard work and determination to leave behind illegal activities, Aded achieved her dream of having a career and now lives safely with her family. Her new dream is to become a business woman in cocoa commercialization and she knows that by working with the Alliance this dream will become a reality very soon.

 

Published September 2015.