In the picturesque city of Pitalito, a central point in Southern Huila, lives Campo Elias Sanchez Mora, the owner of El Jigual farm. Campo Elias is an humble but dedicated farmer like many Colombian caficultores, whose typical day cannot start without a good cup of coffee. A hard days work continues on his land, harvesting and planting with only a wagon as means of transport.
His passion for the land is striking and involves his family too. He lives, indeed, in the same place where he works. During the low season his wife and 4 of his 6 sons help him to run the farm, but during busy times he hires 7 workers too, who may come from further regions and may need a shed that can be certainly found in El Jigual farm.
When we interviewed Campo Elias about his farm tradition, his words expressed full commitment and desire for cooperation to develop and grow something we both love. His story with his coffee farm dates back to more than 30 years ago, when his wife inherited part of the lands but then they decided to buy the rest of it, which was the main one.
In the same fertile ground where he grows coffee, he also hosts plantations of bananas, yucca, corn and arracacha (a typical root vegetable in South America, whose appearance is between a carrot and celery root). And if he hadn’t been a farmer, for the love of the land he would have liked to raise animals, since livestock is his second passion.
We are grateful to work with Campo Elias, because of the mutual trust in each other, showing interest and curiosity in trying new processes that he learnt a lot from the training workshops in PItalito buying station, in particular about fermentation. His desire is to find a fixed roaster and to grow in the specialty coffee sector.
“What I like most about the professional relationship with TCQ is the trust we share and the treatment as if it were family” – C. Elias
“Before knowing TCQ and TMO in Colombia, coffee trade was my first challenge, since prices were not so favourable and I have been cheated many times when re-selling my coffee. Now I’m very happy with the prices because they are rewarding my efforts and I’m learning a lot”. “I like the way TCQ works and I would like to be an example for them as a coffee farmer!” – C. Elias
Campo Elias puts in his own efforts for the environment. He adopts organic products when washing the cherries, reduces the amount of contaminated water for the washing process and avoids as much as possible the use of herbicides. Even when some coffee plant disease shows up, he uses organic compounds, such as “Beauveria” (a fungus that grows naturally in soils but it is also used as biological insecticide to control various pests).
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