“Mr. Kilham first heard about the tuber (maca) in 1996. Two years later, he went to Peru to find out more. There he formed a partnership with Sergio Cam, a Peruvian entrepreneur who invested much of the money he made as a construction worker in California from 1984 to 1999 to start Chakarunas Trading. The company is named after the Quechua word for men who build bridges between cultures.” - The New York Times

Quote about person image: 

Chris, Dona Lucy, Sergio, and Dona Sophia in Maca Country. Chris is bridges the worlds, Dona Lucy and Dona Sophia are native Shaman, and Sergio is Chris' right hand man in this project, and the founder of Chakarunas Trading Company.

Sergio Cam
Company (Other): 
Chakarunas Trading Company
Entrepreneur, Trader, Builder, Father, Sustainability Advocate


Sergio Cam Guia was born in Lima, Peru in 1958. With six sisters and five brothers, Sergio grew up on the streets of Lima. At age 11 he got his first job repairing bicycles at a shop. His nickname was Monkey, because he liked to climb things.

Age 14 he began to hitch-hike the southern Peruvian coast, developing a love of travel. After that, he traveled north, eventually venturing into the Andean highlands. A year later Sergio became a mechanic’s helper, working on cars and trucks and machinery. At 17 he traveled to the Ecuadorian frontier, where he worked in a concrete factory for a brief time. After that, Sergio worked hauling concrete from Pacamayo to the Ecuadorian frontier.

When he was 24, Sergio moved to northern California. There he worked in an antique furniture repair factory, and developed a talent for designing furniture. He began to paint houses, and met a contractor who hired him. Sergio first installed doors, then got involved in new construction, which he learned from a master carpenter.

In time Sergio learned how to read architectural plans and build houses, developing a special talent for reducng costs. This made him popular with architects and contarctors. Sergio remodeled homes, built additions. Very talented, Sergio showed an aptitude for developing new skills. Eventually Sergio got his contractor’s license, and built luxury homes for wealthy people in the Berkeley hills. He became known for working well with architects and greatly reducing building costs by conserving materials and reducing waste..

In 1994 on a trip back to Peru, Sergio was visiting the famous Nazca Lines with friends. At a street corner, Sergio helped an old man get across the road. When they came to the other side, the man pulled a couple of dried maca roots out of his pocket. “What is that?” Sergio asked. “This is maca” said the old man “and it is going to change the world.” The moment, brief as it was, made a lasting impression on Sergio.

The next year, Sergio met a pharmaceutical chemist named Joe Armstrong. Eventually he told Joe about maca, and Joe passed word of the plant on to a head chemist at a major botanical company. Sergio moved back to Peru in 1998, intending to work with maca. In exploring the highlands of Peru where maca grows, he found a small town named Ninacaca. There he purchased land, and bet everything he had on maca.

Today Sergio runs Chakarunas Trading Company, which sells certified organic, ethically traded maca, and also trades in botanicals from the Amazon. He is married, has five children, and lives in the Chorillos district of Lima. Chris Kilham and Sergio Cam have worked together with Peruvian botanicals since 1998, and have explored large areas of the Peruvian Amazon in search of plant-based medicines.

Sergio Cam on MedicineHunter.com: