The following article written by José Rosales was originally published in Spanish on the Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, on August 14, 2012. Click here to read and share the article on PrensaLibre.com>>
“In the last few years, coffee resellers have taken advantage of our products, due to the fact that we were only able to sell ripe coffee cherries, imposing the prices that benefit them and sinking us deeper in poverty every day and to the lowest level of development,” said coffee grower, Neo Per Ardón.
Per said that [coffee growers] decide to organize and seek help to reactivate coffee farming and pay off an agrarian debt they have been dragging for the last twelve years.
Carolina Oleas, Director of the USDA-funded AGTEC Project, said that the [washing station] project designed for these communities is composed of a pre-washed coffee bean capture tank.
Once the coffee has gone through the tank it must pass through a classification section and then be transferred to a machine that removes the pulp and and coffee mucilage or honey to get the product on parchment.
“This project becomes ecological because only one liter of water is used per kilogram of coffee— reducing the amount of water used and preventing harm to the environment,” said Oleas.
Isaí Marroquín from Fondo de Tierras (Earth Fund) said that the machine has the capacity to process about 350 quintals of coffee in 10 hours. He added that another benefit of the process is that the coffee byproducts can be used as organic fertilizer.
More about the project:
- The cost of the project was Q400,000 (approx. $50,800 USD)
- Sebastían Marcuchi, Viceminister of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that coffee producers in these communities— which produce about 14,000 quintals of coffee annually— will benefit greatly from this project
To learn more about the Borlaug Institute’s AGTEC Agriculture in Guatemala: Technology, Education, and Commercialization Project, visit borlaug.tamu.edu/AGTEC.