The story of the Gonzales' coffee begins with our exporters: the Rodriguez family at Agricafe. They have been exporting coffee for over 30 years, and given the logistical challenges in Bolivia, without them, there's no way we'd have Bolivian coffee for you to enjoy. Over the last few years, they had seen a dramatic drop in coffee production, due to issues such as diseases and the attractiveness of more lucrative crops such as coca. To try and address the situation, Agricafe purchased land to showcase best practices in coffee cultivation, and this has expanded into a programme called Sol de la Mañana, focusing on training farmers to improve quality and increase yield.
The Sol de la Mañana project is run like a course, with different aspects of coffee farming and business acumen required for the specialty market being covered each month. This is bolstered by Agricafe providing discounted organic fertilisers to the farmers, and monthly farm visits to provide tailored agronomic advice. The programme began with 10 farmers and has increased to 60 in 2018. The overall aim is to have 100 smallholder farmers involved in the project.
2017 was the first official production year for the Sol de la Mañana programme, and Juana and Julio Gonzales were one of the 10 initial farms involved. They have 3 hectares of farmed land, and although they grow mandarins, bananas and a small amount of coca for themselves and to trade with other farmers, coffee is their only cash crop. They do not currently have the capacity to hire staff, so they are managing the farm alone. This is one of the main challenges, particularly given the continuing issues with leaf rust throughout Central & South America. But through the programme, they are planting new trees and developing strategies to manage disease and increase yield.
- Country: Bolivia
- Farm: Juana Gonzales
- Region: Loayza
- Farm size: 3 Hectares
- Altitude:1500-1680 m.a.s.l.
- Varietal: Typica, Caturra & Catuai
- Process: Washed