Bolivia Sol de la Mañana
- March 2020
- Written by : Michael Sheridan
Director of Sourcing & Shared Value / Green Coffee Buyer
It is hard to overestimate the impact of Sol de la Mañana, a project launched by the Rodríguez family to link smallholder coffee farmers in the Caranavi region of Bolivia with specialty coffee buyers like Intelligentsia.
The Rodríguez family operates 12 farms of its own in two different coffee-growing regions of Bolivia, known collectively as Fincas Los Rodríguez. Pedro Rodríguez and his children, Daniela and Pedro Pablo, also run Agricafé, Bolivia’s premier specialty coffee processing and export operation. Agricafé handles the coffees grown at Fincas Los Rodríguez, of course, but also processes coffees grown by small-scale family farmers in Carnavi, Bolivia’s best-known coffee region. Sol de la Mañana invests mightily in providing supplies and training a select group of several dozen of these growers to implement the Rodríguez family’s proven approach to boosting coffee productivity and quality.
I have been working with smallholder coffee farmers since 2004, and have been to more small-scale family farms than I can remember. I have never seen coffee plants as vigorous or productive as those of Sol de la Mañana participants, nor farms planned, executed, or managed with as much precision. Perhaps more important than Sol de la Mañana’s agronomic impact is its economic impact — it links farmers like the ones in Taipiplaya who grew this lot with buyers like Intelligentsia they would likely never reach otherwise.