Coocentral’s Mujeres Cafeteras (Women’s Coffee) program started from an initiative to teach and empower 300 women coffee growers in the municipalities of Garzón, Pital, and El Agrado. Through Best Agricultural Practices training, the women learn technical skills in coffee harvesting, fermentation, and drying that they use to develop a differentiated cup profile with added value.
Located at altitudes between 1,200 and 2,000 meters above sea level, the farms produce coffee throughout the year. Nearly 700 hectares of farmland are planted with Caturra (54%) and other Colombian varieties (46%).
A brief history of the program, as told by the women:
"Before we had the women’s initiative, we were housewives who didn’t leave the house. We weren’t leaders, and usually, our husbands managed the farm and production. When the program for women started at Coocentral, we learned about leadership and farm administration. The idea was to give us the tools to tend and manage our own farms. We had to speak to our husbands, who eventually ceded a parcel of the farms so that we could work, manage, and produce our own coffee.
Before, we picked coffee without knowing the fundamental importance of picking quality cherries. Thanks to the cooperative’s trainings and workshops, we began to understand what mature, overripe, and underripe cherries look like and knew how to select the ideal ones. We used to process all these cherries together; now we are selective at harvest, and we classify and separate the coffee cherries."