In the Colombian department of Risaralda, the town of Dosquebradas is located right next to its capital, Pereira. Possessing an incredible hydrological wealth, this town has an incredible rural area that makes it part of the Coffee Cultural Landscape. Its valleys and mountains are full of green and countless coffee bushes, making the view unforgettable.
Dosquebradas is a town located in an excellent coffee producing region. The environmental characteristics of its surroundings elevate the properties of the grain produced there and – according to the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers of Risaralda, this product has attributes such as good body, scent, sweetness, and acidity.
During the development of our project, we had the opportunity to travel to this town to know first hand everything related to the Colombian coffee culture. We held a series of workshops that allowed us to enter this vast world of coffee production. We were able to enjoy the beauty of its landscapes, the delicious coffee, and the pleasant climate.
But what really made this experience unique was the opportunity of working directly with the coffee growers of Dosquebradas. To know their life stories, listen to their anecdotes, laugh with them, understand their concerns and fears, and, more importantly, understand the reality and context in which they carry out their daily lives.
What was once a profitable business is a struggle today to maintain an income. The high costs of agricultural inputs, which in many cases are essential for coffee production, hinder the implementation of quality care and management of crops and in turn complicates the creation of a higher quality product.
Likewise, climate threats and agricultural pests play against coffee farmers. The climate is an unpredictable and uncontrollable factor and, in a town with a climate as variable as Dosquebradas, growing coffee becomes a challenge. On the other hand, the control of coffee pests has a slightly greater degree of difficulty compared to other crops, because everything that is applied to this crop can directly affect the flavour and aroma of coffee.
Among all the problems that producers face, the one that most affects them is the price of coffee. It decreases unpredictably and does not have a stability that benefits coffee growers. The payment they receive for their product is not enough to cover production costs and, therefore, does not generate any profit for them. Unfortunately, coffee represents a loss and not a benefit.
But how can this last problem be solved?
Very little is known about the reality of Dosquebradas coffee growers and, in general, Colombian coffee growers. Being aware of the daily struggle of our small-scale producers could completely change the perception of the production process of this crop and makes it clear that the representative Colombian coffee culture is not ideal for its most important link: farmers.
That is why the objective of our project is to dignify the work of our producers through new marketing mechanisms, allowing them to receive a fair price that is consistent with the work they do every day.