Asociación de tecnólogos y productores agropecuarios de Bilbao (ASOTBILBAO)
Caturra, Castillo, and Colombia
Planadas, Tolima, Colombia
Fully washed and dried in the sun
Fair Trade, Organic
The next generation of coffee producers are showing their skills in Colombia where the vast majority of coffee is cultivated, harvested and processed on small family owned farms. This is certainly evident with a group of graduates from Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA), who formed ASOTBILBAO, a producer association with 50 members from Bilbao, a community in the municipality of Planadas within the department of Tolima. These youngsters were raised with a multigenerational commitment for exquisite coffee processing and loving care for their farms and the environment. But they are also not afraid to embrace innovation and apply new ways of managing their birthright. Their model of collaboration enables them to produce traceable community blends with a vibrant regional profile. Each member cultivates coffee on just a few acres of land with yields small enough to manage with their own micro-mill where meticulous care in cherry selection, depulping, fermenting, and drying coffee takes place. While these producers are their own architects, designing farm management and post-harvest solutions to fit their needs, they need strong alliances to bring their coffee to the international market and earn fair prices. For this purpose, ASOTBILBAO collaborates with Inconexus, a Colombian exporter company and trusted Royal partner, which carries out activities that are often overlooked but crucial to small producers. For example, Inconexus lends their experience with the certification process, invests in basic infrastructure needs like establishing a local warehouse, provides dry-milling services, and develops an international market for the coffee. Together, their collective efforts have established higher prices and more producer income to support best agricultural practices and improve livelihoods.