Policarpa (Colombia) With Coffee Scent
More than 140 coffee-producing farmers benefit from a newly built special coffee tasting center located in Restrepo, in the municipality of Policarpa (Nariño), Colombia. This center allows coffee farmers to improve the quality of their coffee, to be offered in national and international markets. And in that way also increase the income of the coffee smallholder farmers.
Since May, the first coffee tasting center in the area is operating in Restrepo, where more than 140 coffee producers have access to specialized equipment and knowledge to evaluate their coffees. The equipment determines the characteristics and attributes related to fragrance and scent – among other descriptors – that allow establishing both the quality of the coffee and its flaws. These are key elements to achieve a better value in the market.
A young (26 years) Pre Q-Grader taster gives advice to the center. One of the highest levels in tasting, who evaluates the quality of coffees for buyers around the world.
“This center is a giant step for all coffee growers, because now we have more knowledge of the types of coffees we can produce and we no longer have to send the tastings to the city of Pasto, which was more expensive and took longer. (…) This is a great progress for us, as an association, to obtain special coffees and achieve differentiated markets”, says Emerson Narváez, coffee maker and taster Pre Q-Grader, who is in charge of evaluating more than 10 varieties of Coffee that arrive at the center.
Policarpa has great coffee potential as it is the only municipality in the department that, due to its variety of thermal and microclimate floors, has coffee production throughout the entire year. That’s also why a large part of the coffee varieties that exist in the market can be sown. For this reason the location of the center in this area is strategic to enhance these crops.
“This center has generated more expectation and awareness that coffee is sustainable for us. We hope to learn how to handle coffee much better so that we can export it, that our coffee reaches the whole world and can say that Policarpa has a different scent from the conflict, that Policarpa now smells like coffee”, Narváez continues.
What’s more, 22 young people from different districts will be trained as coffee tasters, as an income-generating commitment that also contributes to their permanence in the territories.
About the project
The establishment of the center is part of the project Rural Peace: territories and peace building. Rural Peace is a project that seeks to strengthen the rural economies of Afro, indigenous and peasant communities in Nariño and Putumayo. The tasting center is part of the commitment to strengthen local economies and generate economic opportunities for young people and farmers.
Rural Peace is supported by the European Peace Fund of Colombia, established in order to support the construction of peace in the Colombian Territory. ICCO Cooperation leads the implementation, who works with 6 expert organizations: PAX, CETEC, RENACER Putumayo, Indigenous Unit of the Awá People- UNIPA, JUSTAPAZ and TRUVALU- Holland. CETEC (Corporation for Interdisciplinary Studies and Technical Advice) is in charge of this specific coffee tasting center.
Photo: Emerson Narváez at a coffee plantation