The producers from manabi retook their crops with two new varieties of Arabica coffee: acawa and sarchimor. The renovation began four years ago, since the two types of seeds are resistant to pests such as rust.
In addition, they are not only engaged in production. They partnered to market the ground coffee in the markets and stores of Manabí, Los Ríos and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas. Until September 2018, the Prefecture of Manabí had accounted for 15 brands of coffee enterprises. Two are already distributed nationwide in supermarkets and stores such as Tía stores.
In 2017, Manabi’s economy received around USD 900,000 from the sale of ground coffee and also from dry grain to exporters, according to data from the Prefecture. Producer Bolívar Mendoza, from Jipijapa, has the Café Bolívar enterprise, whose product is sold in the province’s land terminals. But the business goes further.
Since the previous year offers a tour of the coffee plantations of Jijipaja, a canton that 70 years ago was considered the ‘Sultana of coffee’. The route begins at the Jipijapa terminal to the coffee plantations and lasts four hours.
Mendoza has a cultivation of three hectares of acawa and sarchimor. He resumed the activity in 2015 after the technicians of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) inspected the land to see the conditions of the land. That entity gave four years ago 85 tons of these Brazilian varieties to 9,000 producers within the Coffee Reactivation project.
From 2014 to the first semester of this year, 22,000 hectares were planted in 18 of the 24 Manabitas cantons. Of those hectares, 60% are in Jipijapa, Paján, 24 de Mayo and Santa Ana, in the southwest of the province. The rest is in the northern cantons.
José Zambrano has a five-hectare plantation in the Cerro Grande campus in Jipijapa. It produced coffee 40 years ago, but the rust finished with its plantations and left 10 trees. “I cultivated them so that the farm smelled like coffee.”
Three years ago he renewed his plantations and joined the Coffee Association of Manabí. They make handmade ground coffee and sell to tourists who visit Manta and Montecristi. “They also buy us in the coffee shops of Portoviejo.” In the Noboa enclosure, in the canton 24 de Mayo, some 74 coffee growers also joined to create the Association of Industrial Production Coffee Growers of Manabí. This union signed a joint agreement with the MAG and the Prefecture for the construction of a coffee processing plant, which cost USD 348 056.
The producers contributed with 40% of the resources and labor, and the entities, the 60% In April 2017, the plant began operating in Noboa. The producers created a product called El Mañanerito, as a tribute to farmers who start their day from 05:00.
Each month, 1,800 bags of 200 and 400 grams are made, which are distributed in Tía stores and regional supermarkets. José Vergara, president of the Association of Industrial Production Coffee Growers of Manabi, said they have a plantation of 300 hectares.
But since August they also buy the selected grain from producers in the south of the province. “The intermediaries pay them USD 15 per quintal and with that they do not cover the production costs. We bought them at USD 22 and that’s how they get motivated.”
Other farmers rent the plant to make their own coffee and sell it directly in the homes of Portoviejo, Manta, Chone and others. The MAG technique, María González, pointed out that in the province there are more than 20 technicians who walk the plantations and coffee factories to accompany the farmer.
This practice has improved the quality of the gold bean and allowed them to send samples of coffee to countries such as the US, Italy and next week a sample of 20 kg will go to Australia. “Of the best coffee plantations, each farmer donates a kilogram that is treated in the plant and is sent in three presentations.” One of the peculiarities of the Manabita coffee is that although it is close to sea level (300 meters), the Humboldt current passes through this area during the flowering period and causes high levels of sugar to condense in the fruit, reducing the acidity. “We differentiate ourselves from the high areas, because the flavor is less acidic and can be taken without sugar and that makes it innovative”. (I)