Name: Las Colinas Co-operative
Location: Tacuba, Ahuachapán, El Salvador
Number of Producers: 89 members
Certifications: Organic, Fair for Life, SPP
Interesting Fact: Las Colinas Co-op is a collectively run farm. The 89 members and their families are responsible for all 200 hectares of land cultivated with coffee. Each member takes on a different specialty or responsibility, from field hand to commercial director. After each harvest, profits are split among all 89 members.
Last Visit: Director of Purchasing and Production Todd Caspersen visited Las Colinas in September 2015 as a pre-harvest visit to discuss our contract and pricing. In addition to discussing our contracts, Todd spent some time hearing from the farmer members of Las Colinas and the deteriorating secuirty situation in El Salvador. An uptick in gang-related violence near the farm has created a very challenging environment for the farmers of Las Colinas to complete the necessary farm work to ensure a successful harvest.
The Las Colinas co-operative in El Salvador is collectively farmed and managed on the site of an old coffee plantation. The agrarian reform of 1980 redistributed land throughout El Salvador from the hands of large-scale coffee growers into the hands of coffee pickers and laborers alike. But, exorbitant interest rates on the loans used to purchase the land came at a high cost and today the producers still struggle to finance their debt and stay on their land. Equal Exchange is supporting the co-op members' endeavors by purchasing the majority of their coffee crop. We're working with Las Colinas to readjust their debt and find alternative ways to improve their finances.
The war of the 1980s also had a devastating effect on the natural environment due to widespread deforestation. Las Colinas is located near the border of Guatemala and forms part of the buffer zone for El Imposible National Park, habitat to endangered pumas, emerald toucans, and fresh waterfalls. Las Colinas has taken steps to preserve their natural resources; they recently converted their coffee to organic and have invested in eco-depulpers to reduce the amount of water they use during processing.
Learn more about Las Colinas:
- A Day Trip to Las Colinas by Phyllis Robinson (October, 2011)
- In the Words of Pedro Ascensio by Phyllis Robinson (April, 2011)
- Las Colinas Coffee Co-op: Many reasons to be psyched by Todd Caspersen (February, 2010)