Boyacá is one of Colombia’s more mountainous departments, spanning a long vertical stretch of the eastern cordillera of the Andes mountains. It is north of Bogotá and despite its central location is lesser-known for coffee production compared to neighboring Santander. Not that it isn’t a significant producing region: what is now Boyacá was one of the first areas where coffee cultivation was reported by Spanish surveyors in the 1780s and 90s, and is still home to more than 10,000 smallholder farmers.
Typical to Colombia as a whole, farms in Boyacá tend to be very small, just a few acres at most, and whose production can be entirely managed by the household, including hand-picking, depulping and processing, and drying. Boyacá also has a long history of working directly with the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (FNC), dating back to its creation in 1927.
In addition to marketing coffee internationally, the FNC provides producers with financing, training, and technical assistance to improve coffee quality. The FNC also strives to improve the quality of life for coffee producers and their families through projects promoting income diversification and education. This particular lot is comprised entirely of women farmers associated with Cooperativa del Nororiente
Colombiano, made possible by a purchasing program exclusively for women members. Participating women were pitched the program and those who decided to join received price premiums for qualifying coffee deliveries. The FNC and Cooperativa del Nororiente Colombiano both firmly believe that economic empowerment for women in rural areas (and across Colombia “rural” is often synonymous with “coffee”) is the quickest and most effective way to promote gender equality in Colombia.