The trout farm project, however, needed funding, technical assistance and strategic partners to assure its sustainability. In 2012 Fortuna agreed to contribute two-thirds of the project’s initial start-up costs and provide staff to direct technical aspects of construction.
In the meantime, 35 producers and their families that hold land surrounding Carhualaca Lagoon and neighbouring areas organized into a cooperative, Special Production Cooperative Aquaculture Caylloma Andes (COPROANDES), to operate the trout farm. As the lagoon was already used by neighbouring communities as a water source for natural livestock pastures, Fortuna and COPROANDES committed to respect and preserve this valuable resource and the local environment.
Although familiar with freshwater fish farming, members of the cooperative needed training in large-scale production methods and assistance gaining market access. On behalf of COPRANDES, Fortuna approached Sierra Exportadora, a Peruvian government agency that develops and fosters sustainable economic activities in the Andes. Sierra Exportadora agreed to provide the necessary training and technical assistance on the strength of a five-year plan for annual production of up to 50 tonnes of high-quality trout. The agency also secured a distribution agreement with two supermarket chains serving regional markets. Additionally, Fortuna helped establish a local market with Aramark, the food service dealer that provides catering services to the Caylloma Mine.
With local support and financing in place, COPRANDES seeded the first production module in September 2012. In June 2013 the cooperative harvested 2,000 kilos of Rainbow trout.