Aldo Ramirez

Nativa

Hi, my name is Aldo Ramirez from Nativa and together with my team and a group of experienced farmers we grow, clean, dry and pack organic ginger and curcuma for Nature & More. Thank you for buying our products. 

Here in Pichanaqui in the Chanchamayo province of Peru, we grow our ginger and curcuma at an altitude of around 1000 meters. This region is absolutely beautiful and is covered by lush green rainforests. My grandfather was an orange and coffee farmer in this area and my father followed his example and also grew oranges. I particularly remember the long journeys (of more than 12 hours) through the forest, over the Andes to the market in Lima. 

I was lucky enough to be the first one in my family to have the opportunity to go to university, in Lima.  All his life my father had worked hard to give me the chance he never had, and therefore I felt a great deal of responsibility to be successful.  During my studies I learned all about export and logistics and this gave me the confidence to start exporting ginger, curcuma and other fruits. At the time I was one of the first and I can tell you things were not easy in those first years as we faced a lot of logistical challenges. Although things have not always been easy, I have been able to learn from things that went wrong. Today, I am proud that Nativa is one of the best suppliers of organic ginger in Peru and we would never have achieved this if the road had been smooth and easy !

Interview Aldo

 

N&M: How is your ginger business organized

Aldo: Due to the rich soils and tropical climate this region is perfect for organic ginger production. We work with around 30 small scale organic growers and support them where possible.  Generally speaking the planting process takes place in September, just before the rain season starts.  Consequently the crop grows until around April when the ginger ripens in the soil. In July our growers start harvesting the ginger.

N&M: What makes Nativa different compared to other suppliers

Aldo: Firstly, Nativa only works with farmers who grow ginger in a crop rotation system and where no virgin forests have been cut down for ginger production. Secondly, whereas others only “floor wash” the ginger, we wash our ginger by hand under special faucets with controlled clean water.  Our drying process is conducted in a special chamber and not in the street or on the roof. Finally, all our employees have a contract and this is special if you consider that only 5% of the inhabitants of Pichanaki have one.  We do a lot more for our employees, for example we pay for their lunch or dinner, pay a higher overtime and even when there is no work we pay their salary. Finally the employees with children receive a special family bonus called “Asignación Familiar”, which allows them to pay for school books, uniforms, specific tuition and other additional family related costs.

N&M: What people live in this area of Peru?

Aldo: Here we have a lot of Ashaninca people, an ethnic  group that originates from the rainforest with their own language and culture. After the Quechua’s they are the second largest group of Peru.  We also have a large group with Japanese ancestors  who settled here more than 200 years ago.

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