ElevaFinca Shifts Focus to the Harvest Season in Sierra Nevada, Colombia
As the harvest season in Peru comes to an end, our team at ElevaFinca shifts focus to Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta, Colombia for the main crop harvest cycle. We work closely with the producer network named ECOLSIERRA. ElevaFinca works closely with a team in Santa Marta to continue to grow and develop the project RIOSIERRA, the second large-scale agroforestry origin project in Latin America funded by the Urapi Sustainable Land Use Fund. The model supports the transition of degraded or lower-yielding coffee fields to generate a more sustainable and productive coffee agroforestry model.
This week, we asked the RED ECOLSIERRA team to provide us with background information on this year’s harvest season in Sierra Nevada, Colombia. The team provides additional notes on how the project impacts coffee producers in the network.
Q&A with the Red Ecolsierra Team
What aspects of the RED ECOLSIERRA is valuable for a coffee buyer?
The quality of coffee remains consistent to ensure expected cup profiles for our clients. Our producers are continually reliable with their coffee deliveries and maintain a great deal of trust and transparency throughout the network. ECOLSIERRA supports the network of producers to cultivate organic coffee. Organic production is the foundation for helping protect soils and primary forests, along with regulations that prohibit hunting and protect wildlife. We have filtration systems in place to help treat water used for coffee processing prior to returning it to streams and waterways. The soil inputs are certified organic, pruning is done manually, and no herbicides or pesticides are used in organic production.
When does the harvest begin in the Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta - Colombia?
The harvest begins in September with pre-harvest activities and it is estimated to end in March. At the beginning of November, we have only completed 2% of the harvest.
What are some of the key activities that take place through the harvest calendar in Sierra Nevada, Colombia?
Flowering is a key stage in the annual coffee cycle that helps forecast yield potential for the coming harvest. This normally occurs in the months of December to April.
Coffee cherries begin to appear, replacing the flowers from April to August.
Harvesting begins in September through October for the initial early harvesting. For contracts in need of Colombian coffee that are looking for a balanced cup profile perfect for house blends. These coffees are ready to book now!
The main harvest runs from the beginning of November until the end of January. This is where we see a great deal of yields delivered for processing. Higher elevation coffees are also ripened and ready for select harvesting.
The harvest season ends during the month of February. Several passes occur to collect the remaining cherries.
Coffee is ready for export as early as November 2021 and continues until July 2022. As everyone is experiencing this year, it will be essential to contract coffee and plan well ahead to prepare for port delays due to the ongoing global transportation issues.
Planting / transplanting / soil maintenance
Planting starts in April and continues to the month of May. Field maintenance is done from May to September, which includes fertilization, weeding, pest and disease management, and pruning.
*shade tree pruning and maintenance occur from January to February.
Why does ElevaFinca work in Colombia?
Colombia presents similar agrarian development problems as Peru. Lack of access to financing, poor environmental and agricultural practices are common issues in the northern Sierra Nevada region. The Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta has enormous potential for growth in the specialty coffee industry.
How does the association in Colombia work with ElevaFinca?
Similar to activities found in Jaen, Peru, the staff at ElevaFinca will help arrange sample shipments, offer marketing support for coffees harvested in the 2021-22 season, along with consolidation, logistics, and quality control supervision. ElevaFinca plans on developing similar projects in various countries across Latin America.
Red Ecolsierra team
Richard Alonso Almanza Castro - Internal Control System Coordinator
Jennifer Alexandra Valbuena Valbuena Casalini - International Business Director
Mildred Niebles - Quality Manager
Alberto Vedecia - Relations Assistant
Watch an extended interview with Mildred Niebles and ECOTIERRA here.
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