How can you talk about coffee from El Salvador without talking about the Coffee Producers of Ciudad Barrios? Let’s discover Monsignor Romero parishioner and defender of the oppressed and Rigoberto Argueta, coffee farmer and visionary.
Who is “Monseñor”m Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdàmez?
Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez was born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, on August 15, 1917. Romero spent the first quarter of a century of his ministerial career as a parish priest and diocesan secretary in San Miguel. In 1970 he became Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador and held this position until 1974, when the Vatican appointed him to the diocese of Santiago de María, a poor rural area that included his hometown. In 1977, he returned to the capital to succeed the Archbishop of San Salvador. He spend his life fighting for human value.
According to Romero, he had a change of attitude due to his brief tenure as bishop of Santiago de María, where he witnessed first-hand the suffering of El Salvador’s landless poor. The government’s increase in violence against socially engaged priests and lay people undermined its confidence in the good will of the authorities and led it to fear that the Church and religion would themselves be under attack.
It is therefore natural that this man advocating peace and sharing approached one of the great future personalities of the cooperative also infamous because of his death during a mass on March 24, 1980.
Who is Rigoberto Argueta Franco?
Rigoberto Argueta Franco is a personality in El Salvador. Living in the more remote lands of Ciudad Barrios, Rigoberto points to the lack of tourism and visibility of the region’s coffee farmers. His philosophy is to “do things the best we can with our resources”.
It is therefore natural that he began a market study of competitiveness to help the region of Ciudad Barrios which suffers from the lack of tourism.
So, he began to acquire land little by little to help his community by offering them to reproduce the culture of the land as the Maya did before them right here.
It was with the help of Monsignor Romero that he managed to acquire this land, as he preferred to sell it to Rigoberto rather than to the highest bidder and began to invest in coffee cultivation as well as in infrastructure for managing the stages after production.
This is the beginning of the cooperative society of coffee producers of Ciudad Barrios.
Two things are immediately put in place: the beginning of inter-regional export as well as the creation of the Salvadoran Coffee Council. It is this same council that issues the diplomas we hold to be able to claim to work with specialty coffee.
What is the Cooperative Society of Coffee Producers?
It is an organization of small coffee producers voluntarily united by common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations, democratically controlled, based on cooperative principles where all its members believe in ethical values. It was founded in 1972 by 16 coffee visionaries who organized themselves to compose it. Its current members (2018) are 636 members, mostly small producers, whose farm extensions do not exceed five hectares. It was legally constituted in March 1973, as a legal entity under private law and with a corporate social character, since since its creation, the founders have instilled a commitment to human and environmental development.
The Cacahuatique region
The area of influence is the Cordillera du Cacahuatique which has more than 1000 small farms in an area with a cultivation potential of more than 8,000 hectares. In the region, the cooperative has implemented many projects within the framework of environmental sustainability and social aspect, with the sole purpose of bringing well-being to members and their families.
Beyond the production of our exquisite coffee, the cooperative has been characterized by an environmental and social vision, which we highlight in each of the projects we carry out, bringing this philosophy to producers who are not members of the organization, but who give the cooperative their coffee to process.
Respect for human values is essential in the organization of work within the cooperative. The grains come from the mythological lands of the ancient Mayan civilization producing cocoa in the region.
The cooperative cultivates the land by offering a natural shade to the coffee trees thanks to the cocoa trees still present. It is a way of honoring the Maya who have cultivated this land for years.
El Salvador thanks to its volcanic heart, has land rich in minerals that gives a unique taste to coffee beans.
The selection process used makes it possible to choose a coffee with a refined and harmonious taste.
To be a model cooperative company in El Salvador, which works with social and environmental responsibility, offering quality products and services, with added value, seeking to meet the requirements of our customers, thus generating the well-being of our members, our employees, and the community, having coffee as the central axis of our activity
Quality control has been a very important part of the Ciudad Barrios Coffee Growers cooperative, and starts from collection to export abroad, or internal distribution, in El Salvador.
There is a properly equipped laboratory with specialized staff that allows strict quality control, it also serves as an essential tool for the t-feedback of information between our demanding customers and our associates for the constant improvement of quality.
Quality control during collection is the reception step, which allows us to control humidity, color uniformity, odors, defects, among others.
A quality control for the export process, the sample is checked during the process in accordance with the customer’s requirements.
Quality control of roasted coffee; the raw material used in the roasted ground coffee industry which is oriented towards the regional and national market.
As you will have understood, their goal is to develop all producers by accompanying them in the social, environmental, and productive fields.
As you will have understood, the Society of Cooperatives of Coffee Producers of Ciudad Barrios makes it possible to support an entire region.
Based on mutual aid and respect for values, it makes it possible to fairly remunerate coffee farmers in a lesser-known region of El Salvador.
Thanks to its mineral-rich land steeped in Mayan history, the region’s coffee beans are more refined and harmonious.
Finally, it provides quality monitoring of coffee, better management of resources, and awakens coffee farmers to social and environmental responsibilities.
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