La Calera SAC is a family-owned business that produces eggs in Chincha, Ica, Peru. Founded by (Tayo) Estuardo Masias Marrou more than 40 years ago, La Calera is a family operated farm still run by Tayo, his wife, sons, and grandchildren, who all live on the farm, too.
As the largest egg producer in Peru with more than five million laying hens on their 350-hectare farm, they produce eggs for supermarkets, small stores, traditional markets, restaurants, and hotels nationwide. In fact, 98% of the eggs in supermarkets and 23% of Peru’s overall market share of eggs are from La Calera farms, making them an exciting addition to the Certified Humane® program. Currently, Heuvos de Gallina de Corral Humanitaro brand of eggs, available at Wong and Metro supermarkets, and their own La Calera Heuvos de Gallina de Corral Humanitaro brand, are Certified Humane®.
Tayo is committed, however to growing the Certified Humane® program and implementing Humane Farm Animal Care’s animal care standards on the rest of their farms throughout the country. Because most large farms are actually a collection of small farms located in different regions, HFAC will certify an individual farm in a farm business only if it is geographically separate from the other farms in the program. HFAC uses third-party inspectors to conduct traceability audits to ensure eggs that are Certified Humane only come from Certified Humane farms.
Tayo’s family has farmed in Peru for more than 200 years and acquired more than 2,000 hectares of farm land during that time. After the Agrarian Reform (the redistribution of land) in 1969, however, the family farm was reduced to just 80 hectares. Tayo needed to make a living on the much smaller farm, so with the little money he had left, he purchased 3,000 laying hens and launched a small egg production business with four employees. Today, La Calera provides jobs to more than 2,500 families.
“I used to be the one picking up the eggs and running everything on the farm,” says Tayo. “It´s amazing how things have evolved. I am very passionate about this work,” says Tayo.
Tayo quickly learned how to raise hens in the Chincha environment, a somewhat desert-like climate with little rain and moderate temperatures all year-round.
“We raise the hens ourselves and only select the genetically best hens for egg laying production,” says Tayo.
“We give them space to run around and have as much freedom as they can.”
When Tayo learned about the Certified Humane® program in 2012, he decided the program fit his farm’s focus of animal care and would meet the demands of consumers who wanted verification on how farm animals are raised.
“We make a great commitment to take care of our animals and their environment,” says Tayo. “Part of that philosophy is giving the best life we can to the hens. We already follow all the practices set out by the Certified Humane® program, so it made sense to add that label to our egg products, so consumers would know that too.”
It could take a few years, but La Calera is committed to adding more farms to the Certified Humane program. All farms producing Certified Humane products are inspected at least once a year.
La Calera’s commitment to animals and the environment also reverberates into the community. In addition to providing 2,500 jobs for residents, the farm also helps single moms working on the farm by providing on-site day care. They also have built 900 houses for their employees, who where homeless after the 2007 earthquake, and sponsored the city’s first bilingual school.
“We care very much about the welfare of both people and animals on our farm,” says Tayo.